Machiavelli & Marx Debate V

Machiavelli and Marx Debate – V

                         Machiavelli’s Second Rebuttal                                     

                             Chronicled by Theosophus 


It is easily recognized by those who consider present and ancient affairs that the same desires and passions exist in all cities and people, and that they always existed. So that for whoever with diligence examines past events, it is an easy thing to foresee the future in any Republic, and to apply those remedies which had been used by the ancients, or, not finding any of those used, to think of new ones from the similarity of events.

Niccolo Machiavelli

Philadelphia: Friday,  May 20th, 2011.

More than two years have passed since Marx gave his first rebuttal.  As with the 15-month break following Machiavelli’s initial refutation, the length of debate presentations was the reason given for the interruption and everyone expected it to be brief.  However, finding a time opportune for both men, and for the moderator, Judge Andrew Napolitano, and reserving Temple University’s popular Walk Auditorium, extended the delay.

Watching the polemicists enter the hall and take seats on the stage, it was obvious the self-confident, patronizing Machiavelli of opening statements was back. The irritability and tenseness displayed during his first rebuttal was gone. Apparently he spent a lot of time reviewing Marx’s arguments during the interim and lost respect for them in the process. Walking briskly to the lectern, Machiavelli flashed his opponent a dismissive smile, turned to the audience and began:

Machiavelli:  “Good evening.”

“I want to express my gratitude to the American Philosophical Society again for sponsoring the debates, and, of course, my thanks to all of you for attending.”

“I intend to greatly accelerate the pace of the debate this evening.  To use an old film makers’ phrase, I’ll ‘cut to the chase’.”

“Before I start, however, let me emphasize that my goal is to disclose the objective truth about current socio-economic-political events! By which I mean ‘a truth that exists whether anyone sees it or not’.”

“Some of you may agree with Dr. Marx’s relativist proposition that ideas are true or false depending upon whether they describe one’s personal experience. If so, you, too, will find you’re unable to give an empirical refutation of my analysis.”


“Because it describes the logic of universal human experience, and whether you’re an absolutist or a relativist, a leftist, a rightist or a liberal, it is your truth as well as my own!”    

“Now to begin:”

“You will recall Marx and I agreed that doing scientific investigation means starting with a material description of a situation or event and reasoning your way to empirically verifiable conclusions.”

“We agreed that explicating a body of intangible aspirations is idealism, not science, however appealing the aspirations may be, however clever the explication.”

“Unfortunately for Herr Marx, the tacit assumption about human nature with which he undertakes his inquiry and, as a consequence, his conclusions regarding where our species is headed, could not be more idealistic.”

“The inhabitants of Marx’s illusory world are all self-directed creatures akin to wolverines and eagles.  Reasoning from that materially indefensible supposition, he decided a post-capitalist humanity is preparing to be born whose atheistic members will each judge for themself what is true and what is false, and accordingly, how to act.”

“Being a scientist, I do my own reasoning about the real world, and in the real world the appropriate analogy for our species isn’t eagles and wolverines.  It’s horses, cows and wildebeast and, let’s be completely honest, sheep!”

“Real world humans are herd animals, and herd animals look to alpha personalities for  direction, they do not set courses for themselves.”

“It is our species nature to congregate in communities of followers whose thinking and behavior is decided by leaders. That describes how our ancestors lived in nomadic clans. It’s the way their successors have cohabited under feudalism; their consciousness and practice determined by potentates, kings, queens, emperors and ayatollahs.  Finally, it’s how every capitalist state is presently organized, with senators, judges, prime ministers and presidents determining what people think and do concerning issues of  consequence for themselves and the community.

“It’s a nation’s leaders who dictate which other states are enemies, which are allies, and they invariably decide the vital questions of war and peace.”

“The armies and navies of every state are hierarchically structured, with individuals of lower rank reflexively following the leadership of those above.”

“It’s leaders who decide the color and pattern of every nation’s flag, when it must be raised and lowered, where it can or should be displayed.  Leaders choose the country’s anthem, and determine when it will be sung. The follower majority then carry out the flag waving/displaying and the anthem singing.”

“Nor is this division of our species into leaders and followers restricted to matters of political import. It’s there respecting almost everything we humans think and do.”

“Is it not obvious that the youths of every nation are obsessed with liking the right music, having the right hair cut, the right jeans and the right shoes?  Los Angeles gang leaders require gang members to have the right tattoos, give the right greetings, wear the right colors, and the right caps, worn in just the right way.”

“Members of the upper class pay large sums of money to purchase the right designer watches, dresses, handbags, Italian suits and shoes.”

“Every religion, Catholic, Baptist, Jewish, Buddhist, Sunni and Shiia Muslim, demands and receives orthodoxy from its members regarding core ideas, as well as the iconic practices those core ideas dictate; and in each instance, the right core ideas and practices are determined by leaders past or present.”

“This species’ separation into leaders and followers is even manifest in the way people drive their cars. The majority of drivers tailgate; i.e., have follower personalities.  Leaders don’t tailgate for the simple reason they’re unwilling to relinquish control over their lives to someone they’re driving behind.”

“What is the material reason for our herd behavior?  It’s the same one identified by the ethologists, anthropologists and psychologists who study other herd creatures: Survival of the Species!

“Millions of years of hominid evolution–for we Homo sapiens, an additional two hundred thousand–have cached the species-protective herd behavior in our genes, where it neither can nor will be extirpated by Dr. Marx’s fantasized social reorganization.”

“In sum, respecting all the significant features of human existence, from politics, to religion, to music and art, to diet, medicine, sports and law, the majority of people possess neither the creative intelligence, the courage, nor the character, to make decisions most beneficial for themselves, or, more critically, for the species.”

“Marx abandoned reality and entered James Cameron’s Pandoran universe when he decided it’s going to be completely different in the future.”

“Imagine the chaotic mediocrity that would result if everyone elected to choose their own gods; diagnose their own ailments and write their own prescriptions; compose their own music and sing their own songs; and, act upon their personal opinion respecting how other people should be treated; in effect, make their own laws.”

“Yet that’s the post-capitalist world Marx envisions; a world in which he proposes you may be a carpenter in the morning, a physician in the afternoon, a song writer or a poet at night.”

“Dr. Marx would represent reality more accurately if he compared our species to ants.  Like ants we live in colonies built by workers, display strong tribal bonds, and, engage in wars fought by obedient soldiers.”

“In his opening statement Marx accused me of being preoccupied with recent history.  So let me accomodate him with a brief look at human phylogeny.”

“Describing his explanation for socio-economic-political change as scientific, Marx likened it to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, ignoring Darwin’s proposition that every species not only evolves by way of, but benefits from, Survival of the Fittest! 

“As the late anthropologist Marvin Harris observed, The Origin of the Species ‘ends with an up-beat that reverberated throughout the remainder of the century: Thus from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object of which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.”  

“Harris recognized it might be argued that the ‘idea of perfection through struggle was neither embedded in nor directed toward a theory of sociocultural evolution.’ However, he noted, in Darwin’s ‘first unpublished sketch of the theory of natural selection written in 1842, he was already convinced this theory included all mammals without exception!’”

“Marx argued at considerable length that capitalist nations dominate and exploit pre-industrial populations. To which a Darwinian realist (i.e., a scientific materialist), will respond: So what?”

“Is it not indisputable that our species has evolved only because some individuals, communities, nations, were more fit–in today’s vernacular, more progressive–than the ones they replaced?”

“For over 350,000 years Neanderthals were the dominant hominids in Eurasia.  Then, 50,000 years ago, Homo sapiens began moving in from Africa.  Better able to adapt to Eurasia’s climatic variations, and more sophisticated in their survival techniques, within 20,000 years our Homo sapiens ancestors had conquered the Eurasian continent(s) and Neanderthals were extinct.”

“To be sure, the Homo sapiens’ conquest of Eurasia was catastrophic for Neanderthals. But would anyone seriously propose the world would be better off today if Neanderthals had prevailed?”

“Dr. Marx and I will agree that Europe’s colonization of the New World involved the slaughter and subjugation of native inhabitants.  Millions of them died in the process, while others were forced to work as slaves in Latin American fields and mines.  The near-genocidal destruction of North America’s native communities which accompanied the seizure and occupation of their lands was bloody and brutal, and uncounted thousands of indians who had the temerity to resist were killed in what settlers conveniently and comfortingly labelled ‘wars’.”

“By any standard which is faintly humane, the practices described were deeply evil.  But having acknowledged that evil, is any member of this audience prepared to argue that the remarkable advancements in industry, art, medicine and science which ensued—advancements which have benefitted not only Americans but the world—would have occurred even if the brutal killing and expropriation of natives had not been carried out, if the settlers had returned to Europe and warring indian tribes continued to occupy this land?  Alternatively, would any of you contend our species would be better off—more evolved—if those advancements had not taken place?”

“The empiricists among you will object that my questions are themselves unscientific, and you’re right! To ask ‘What if Homo sapiens hadn’t replaced Neanderthals in Eurasia?’ and ‘What if European settlers hadn’t carried out a cruel and evil ethnic cleansing of the Americas?‘ is like asking ‘What if fish didn’t swim, birds didn’t fly, and lions didn’t feed on gazelles?’”

“It is the species nature of fish to swim, birds to fly, and lions to feed on gazelles. And it is Homo sapiens’ species nature to establish communities which they can some-times protect only through an evil ethnic cleansing, extermination or subjugation of another people.”

“The natives of this continent who settlers killed and cleansed would have done the same if their roles were reversed; a point they repeatedly demonstrated by their tribal battles.”

“Furthermore, however painful losers in the struggle may find it, the survival of the fittest process by which nature operates benefits not only the winners, but our species as a whole, i.e., humankind.”

“Dr. Marx would savor evolution’s brilliance while forswearing its brutality, denying the manifest reality they are integral to one another.”

“To quote from my instructive book, The Prince: ‘Theseus could not demonstrate his virtue if he did not find the Athenians dispersed.’ ‘It was necessary for Moses to find the people of Israel oppressed slaves in Egypt, so that to come out of servitude, they might dispose themselves to follow him.’” 

And the liberating vision this nation’s founders expressed in The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights, would never have come into existence were it not for England’s persecution.”

“Revealing his objective understanding of the world, in Imperialism and the Anti-Imperialist Mind sociologist Lewis Feuer writes:‘When civilization has moved forward in the past, it has invariably been propelled by a strong imperialist movement.‘ Feuer cites the imperialist empires of Rome, Greece, France and Germany, the building of the British Empire, and the ‘progressive imperialism’ of the United States today; which, he recommends, should be carried out shorn of guilt.”

“Which brings us back to the vital question of leadership, and the indispensability of a great leader’s capacity for evil and deception.”

“As I said in my opening statement: ‘the foremost objective of a nation’s leader must be the preservation of the state upon which the lives and the well-being of his people depend.’”

“But, to reference The Prince again: ‘To maintain the state, it is often necessary for a leader to operate against faith, against charity, against humaneness, against religion.  Therefore it is necessary that he have a spirit disposed to turn as the winds and the variations of fortune command him, not to depart from good when he can, but to know how to enter evil when he needs to.’”

“Committed to the defense of his state and his people, possessing the superior courage, discipline and goodness required to embrace evil when it becomes imperative, a great leader recognizes that few of his followers have his stern fiber. He understands most men, to use Colonel Nathan Jessup’s admonishment of Lt. Kaffee in the film A Few Good Men,‘can’t handle the truth!’”

“Psychiatrists and psychologists call this inability to face unpleasant truths ‘being in denial.’ Surely, all of history testifies that the majority of people’s are unable to confront frightful, derisive or disparaging truths; that they turn to denial as reflexively as plants turn toward the sun; that the lies, myths and religions used to disown and justify their evil are as critical for them as food and water; and are, therefore, vital for the maintenance of the state and the consequent progress of our species.”

“In presenting a forthright analysis of today’s socio-economic-political universe and the U.S.’ place within it I’m assuming most of you are among the exceptions; that you have ‘type-A’ personalities and do not require the deceit and obfuscation needed to keep the herd in tow; that you have the courage and the intelligence to take an Objectivist look at the world.”

“Now to the interrelated political issues Americans are presently wrangling, and worrying, and in beneficent denial, about:”

“For more than two decades they have been engaged in an often heated debate over gun ownership and the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which declares: ‘A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’”

“Advocates for a literal interpretation of the Second Amendment argue that besides being required for hunting, guns are needed to defend one’s home against criminals. A minority use the same argument to justify allowing people to conceal guns in their cars or clothing. ‘If guns are banned,’ the textualists exhort, ‘only criminals will have guns!’”

“Conversely, those who champion limiting or banning the possession of guns insist when the Second Amendment is given a strict interpretation it doesn’t accord with 21st century needs and conditions. If applied, criminals would readily obtain guns, they warn, and inquisitive children would find weapons hidden by their parents, rendering homes and streets less, not more, secure.  Automatic, semi-automatic and 50-caliber rifles didn’t exist when the Second Amendment was written, the gun control proponents observe, and such weapons are unsuitable for hunting or providing protection against home invasion and street crime. As for permitting concealed guns to be carried, they reason criminals and testosterone-driven hotheads would be the first to do so, again, making everyone less safe.”

“Unfortunately, while the arguments popularized by both sides are often clever and occasionally entertaining, they rarely have anything to do with the justification for the Second Amendment given by those who wrote it, thus precluding serious inquiry into whether that justification has relevance today!”  

“On their parts, constitutional attorneys and historians are of one opinion concerning why the nation’s founders wrote the Second Amendment, and, what it was they sought to accomplish.”

“During the French and Indian War between England and France (1754-63), most colonists enthusiastically sided with Britain, since France was claiming territory the colonists‘ growing population needed to acquire.”

“Only a decade later, however, England became the enemy when it determined to extract the exorbitant cost of the war from the colonies by taxing sugar and molasses, or stamps, or, what was considered the final affront, tea.”

“As the colonists’ resistance moved toward violence, England tried enacting laws to disarm them, and quartered troops in their homes.”

“Stephen P. Halbrook, a prominent constitutional attorney who has won three cases before the Supreme Court, records: ‘William Knox, Under Secretary of State in the British Colonial Office, circulated a proposal entitled “What is Fit to be Done With America? advocat/ing/ the creation of a ruling aristocracy loyal to the Crown, establishment of the Church of England throughout the colonies and an unlimited power to tax. To keep them servile, Knox offered the panacea of disarming all of the people and relying solely on a standing army’.”

“Knox was very specific, advising:‘The Militia Laws should be repealed and none suffered to be re-enacted & the Arms of all the People should be taken away, & every piece of Ordnance removed into the King’s Stores, nor should any Foundry or manufacture of Arms, Gunpowder, or Warlike Stores, be ever suffered in America, nor should any Gunpowder, Lead, Arms or Ordnance be imported into it without License; they will have but little need of such things for the future, as the King’s Troops, Ships & Forts will be sufficient to protect them from danger.’”

“The colonists’ leaders were soon convinced that the main threat to a people’s freedom comes from the armed forces of a government which has turned despotic, and, to guard against this threat the citizenry must always remain armed.”

When the Bill of Rights was being discussed, Elbridge Gerry (fifth vice-president of the United States) described the Second Amendment as ‘intended to secure the people against the maladministration of the government.’”

George Mason, considered the father of The Bill of Rights, inquired: ‘Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people!’, he answered his own rhetorical question. Tench Coxe, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington, similarly contended: ‘The militia are the people at large.’”

“Richard Henry Lee, another framer of the Second Amendment wrote: ‘to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.’ ‘A militia are in fact the people themselves.’”

“In an article titledThe History of the Second Amendment, Professor David Vandercoy of Valparaiso University School of Law, recounts that despite discord over how much power to grant the central government, the Federalists and Anti-Federalists were unanimous in the belief that ‘governmental tyranny was the primary evil people had to guard against,’ and they intended the Second Amendment of the Constitution to ward off that ‘primary evil.’” 

“Vandercoy relates that when anti-Federalists voiced concern about the great power a central government with a standing army would have at its disposal, in a Federalist Pamphlet, Noah Webster responded: ‘Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every Kingdom of Europe.  The Supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.’”

“Finally, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton made the argument. According to Madison, any threat coming from the government’s standing army: ‘would be opposed by a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from amongst themselves, fighting for their common liberties’. While Hamilton reasoned: ‘If representatives of the people, elected under the proposed Constitution, betray their constituents, the people retain the right to defend their political rights and possess the means to do so.’” 

Halbrook summed the issue in a sentence: ‘the experiences of the American Revolution proved the right to keep and bear arms serves as the ultimate check that the founders hoped would dissuade persons at the helm of state from seeking to establish tyranny.”

“As for colonists needing guns to protect themselves from criminality, at the time the Bill of Rights was written, crimes which might call for defending one’s home with a weapon were rare. Big cities were mere townships by today’s standard: Philadelphia had about 30,000 inhabitants, Boston even fewer.”

“Most colonists lived on remote homesteads and had little money.  The economic activity between them mainly consisted of bartering corn, wheat, nails, animal pelts, cow hides and livestock; and theft usually involved stealing farm animals or implements, a pig perhaps, or a plow.”

“Historian William Nelson found that from 1776 to 1781 there were only 23 prosecutions for theft in the seven most populous Massachusetts counties combined, while between 1779 and 1786 there were 406 prosecutions for sexual offenses, most for fornication and adultery.  Blasphemy and not attending church on Sunday were also common crimes.”

“If the Second Amendment was obviously conceived and justified as a defense against government oppression; if protecting homes and individuals from criminals was considered an inconsequential issue and seldom mentioned; why, then, do both sides in the debate over gun possession focus exclusively on crime?”

“Has crime been increasing?”

“No, to the contrary, over the past two decades, the crime rate has fallen precipitously in the U.S., where the arms control quarrel has been most vociferous.”

“According to FBI statistics, there were 758.1 violent crimes per 100,000 people in the U.S. in 1991.  By 1999 the figure had dropped to 523, and in 2008 it was down to 454.”

“The homicide rate fell accordingly, from 9.8 homicides per 100,000 people in 1991, to 5.7 in 1999 and 5.4 in 2008.”

“On the other hand, despite the passage of two highly restrictive gun laws, crime in Britain has increased dramatically.”

“In 1977 England eliminated ‘defense of property’ as an acceptable reason for possessing a handgun. In 1988, following the shotgun massacre of 16 people and wounding of 15 others in Hungerford the year before, it passed a Fire Arms Act restricting the ownership of shotguns to individuals who could show a ‘compelling need’, and the guns would have to be registered.”

“In 1995 Britain started licensing/registering the possession of all firearms.  Then in 1996 a second mass killing occurred in Dunblane, Scotland, where 17 primary school children and their teacher were murdered by a former scout master.”

“Britain responded with the Firearms Act of 1997. All handguns were ordered confiscated, their ownership prohibited. Only shotguns and rifles would now be legal.  Moreover, acquiring one would involve ‘passing a 30-minute interview with a police officer’ who evaluated your ‘good nature, character, and suitability for owning a gun,’ determined whether you had a ‘valid reason‘ for having the weapon, personally verified you had the mandatory ‘lock box,‘ and were the only one who had a key.”

“As a result of these restrictive new laws, shotgun certificates went down by a third—from 971,000 in 1988 to 600,000 in 2001.”

“Yet, in the 3 years after the Firearms Act of 1997 was passed violent crime more than doubled in England and Wales: from 650 per 100,000 in 1997, to 1,400 in 2000; while during the same period it was falling in the U.S.”

“In 2002 the British Telegraph reported a new survey would ‘prove embarrassing’ to Home Secretary, David Blunkett, since it showed ‘people are more likely to be mugged, burgled, robbed or assaulted here /England/, than in America, Germany, Russia, South Africa or any other of the world’s 20 largest nations.’”  

“Using statistics provided by Britain’s Home Office and the FBI, Professor Gary Mauser of Canada’s Simon Fraser University did a comparative study which found that despite the Firearms Acts of 1988 and 1997, and the confiscation and prohibition of all handguns, England’s homicide rate ‘soared from 7.3 per hundred thousand for the year 1997-98 to 10.5 in 2000-01’, while homicide in the U.S. was dropping.”

“Mauser’s conclusion?  ‘Public disarmament is ineffective, expensive, politically divisive and undermines support for the police.’”

“In a 1999 Wall Street Journal article Halbrook recalled that during a 1994 talk show debate on banning assault weapons the host asked New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley, who supported the ban, if guns cause crime, observing that ‘in Switzerland all males are issued assault rifles for militia service and keep them at home, yet little crime exists there.‘“

“Bradley’s feeble response?  ‘The Swiss are pretty dull.’”

“‘Although there is more per capita firepower in Switzerland than any /other/ place in the world,‘ Halbrook adds, ‘it is one of the safest places to be.  To the delight of Americans who support the right to keep and bear arms, Switzerland is the proof in the pudding of the argument that guns don’t cause crime.’” 

“If banning guns can not be shown to reduce crime, might the confidence with which many U.S. politicians and their supporters advocate doing so testify that federal, state and local governments and the military no longer pose any threat to the American people?”

“To use William Knox’s justification for disarming the colonists: Will Americans ‘have little need of such things for the future’? Rather than presenting a hazard, are federal, state and local governments, the military and the police, ‘sufficient to protect them from danger’?” 

“In answering those questions, I will again concentrate on reporting the objective facts, cautioning you not to conclude I take either side on the issue; which is not the role of a scientist.”

“Challenges to the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Americans, including the gun control movement, had been growing modestly after the assassinations of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Kennedy’s brother Bobby, and the attempted assassination of President Reagan.  With the 9/11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, they exploded.”

“Absent any meaningful discussion or debate, the legislators who had taken an oath to defend the Constitution, issued a near-unanimous declaration of war against it.”

“Renowned for their discord, division and delay, forty-five days after 9/11 the House and Senate had passed the Patriot Act and President Bush had signed it into law; and with that, the Bill of Rights, the parchment Americans had considered a guarantee of their freedom from government oppression for 210 years, lay in shreds.”

In March, 2006 Congress passed, and President Bush signed, a modified reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Where the destruction of ‘constitutionally secured’ freedoms was concerned, nothing had been changed.  Having campaigned against the Patriot Act, in February 2011 President Obama signed a one-year extension of its invasive provisions.”

“The website ‘Concerned Citizens Against the Patriot Act’ has posted an account of the damage done to The Bill of Rights: 

Amendment I: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . . ‘“

“The Patriot Act: ‘To assist terror investigation, the government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity.’ ‘The government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation.’”

“Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” 

“The Patriot Act: ‘The government may search and seize Americans’ papers and effects without probable cause to assist in a terror investigation.’”

Amendment VI: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law; and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

The Patriot Act: ‘Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them. The government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.’ And, ‘the government may monitor conversations between attorneys and clients in federal prisons and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.’”

“From the time of its passage, lone Americans have responded to The Patriot Acts implications and applications with an indignation often bordering on rage.”

“‘The American people’s elected representatives in Congress endorsed the executive branch’s overthrow of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,’ exhorted Paul Craig Roberts.”

“‘The Patriot Act is not what American patriots have fought and died for,‘ argued Representative Dennis Kucinich, in urging its repeal. ‘To allow our Bill of Rights to be nullified without judicial supervision invites tyranny.’” 

“‘I am not afraid of white supremacists’, wrote Pulitzer Prize winning former New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges: ‘I  am concerned about my own government. The Patriot Act did not come from white supremacists, it came from the White House and Congress.’”

“The Electronic Frontier Foundation observed: ‘The government can monitor an individual’s web surfing records, use roving wiretaps to monitor phone calls made by individuals “proximate” to the primary person being tapped, access Internet Service Provider records, and monitor the private records of people involved in legitimate protests. Government spying on suspected computer trespassers (not just terrorist suspects) requires no court order. Wiretaps are now allowed for any suspected violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, offering possibilities for Government spying on any computer user.’”

“The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) warned Section 802 of the Patriot Act expands the definition of terrorism to include not only acts of violence previously regarded as criminal, but even the non-violent activities of individuals and organizations which happen to make government representatives feel they’re being unduly pressured, proposing: ‘A person engages in domestic terrorism if they do an act “dangerous to human life” that is a violation of the criminal laws of a state or the United States, if the act appears to be intended to: (i) intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.’”

“This extended meaning for terrorism, the ACLU urged, is ‘broad enough to encompass the activities of several prominent activist campaigns and organizations.  Greenpeace, Operation Rescue, Vieques Island, WTO protesters and the Environmental Liberation Front have all recently engaged in activities that could subject them to being investigated as engaging in domestic terrorism.’” 

“However, the ACLU is being timid when it conjectures the Patriot Act ‘could subject’ peaceful protesters to investigation as ‘domestic terrorists’. It is already being interpreted that way by the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Department of Defense.”  

“Alex Jones (, observes federal law now ‘applies the Patriot Act to ANY violation of ANY federal or state law,’ making even misdemeanors a legal justification for ‘federal authorities to enter your home and search without any warrant, and, to charge you if you find out they’ve been there and make it public.’”

“John Grant relates that a Defense Department ‘Anti-Terrorism Awareness Course’ questionnaire inquires: ‘Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorism activity? A.) Attacking the Pentagon; B.) IEDs; C.) Hate crimes against racial groups; D.) Protests.‘  The Defense Department’s answer?  D.) Protests.’” 

“Roberts notes: ’American citizens have been imprisoned for giving aid to Muslim charities that the executive branch has decreed, without proof in a court of law, to be under the control of “terrorists.” Any form of opposition to the government’s wars and criminal actions can be construed as aiding terrorists and be cause for arrest and indefinite detention.’”

“‘Federal law makes it a crime to provide material support to any organization designated as a terrorist group by the Secretary of State,’ writes National Public Radio’s legal Affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. ‘But the definition of material support includes not just providing weapons, money or bomb-making skills; it includes providing any sort of expert advice, training or personnel–including advice on how to resolve disputes peaceably or training on how to make human rights claims before the United Nations. The nonprofit Humanitarian Law Project has a long history of engaging in such activity, mediating international conflicts and promoting human rights. But it has stopped doing some of its work for fear of being prosecuted under the material support provision.’”

“‘The feds are monitoring email, personal phone conversations, and even personal letters from overseas,‘ charges Pastor Chuck Baldwin, ‘banks monitor and report financial transactions to the federal government.’”

“A September 2010 New York Times article disclosed: ‘broad new regulations are being drafted by the Obama administration /which/ would make it easier for law enforcement and national security officials to eavesdrop on Internet and e-mail communications like social networking Web sites and BlackBerries. . . . the White House plans to submit a bill next year which would require all online services that enable communications to be technically equipped to comply with a wiretap order. That would include providers of encrypted e-mail, such as BlackBerry, networking sites like Facebook and direct communication services like Skype.’”

“Paul Joseph Watson cites a Time magazine article which ‘details it is now perfectly legal in nine states for the government to attach secret satellite tracking devices to your car and monitor you wherever you go.’”

“Watson records that: Former FBI agents are helping local authorities train thousands of garbage collectors across the country as a nationwide internal spy force to report “suspicious activity” to police’”.

“And Kurt Nimmo relates: ‘the FBI has instructed Philadelphia tattoo shops to report customers who demand privacy, insist on paying with cash, engage in “suspicious behavior,” make “anti-U.S. comments,” or request tattoos that are “extremist symbols.”‘ The FBI also notified the tattoo shops to ‘be on the look-out for people who change hair color, style of dress, or shave beards between visits.’ According to the FBI’s designation, ‘suspicious people include those with missing fingers or hands, chemical burns, strange odors or bright colored stains on their clothing.’”

“The well-known civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart was ‘disbarred and sentenced to 10 years in prison /merely/ for helping her client, convicted terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, communicate with his pro-violence followers in Egypt.’”

“A Defense Department document Jones obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request even treats the internet as ’part of its enemy’s ordnance’, declaring: ‘The Defense in Depth strategy should operate on the premise that the Department will “fight the net” as it would a weapons system.’’

“Watson found it’s already doing so: ‘In 2006 the United States Central Command (CENT-COM) announced a team of employees would be hired to engage “bloggers who are posting incomplete information” about the war on terror;‘ and in January 2009 ‘the U.S. Air Force announced a “counter-blog” response plan, aimed at fielding and reacting to material from bloggers who post “incomplete information” about the war on terror.’”

“The Pittsburgh Tribune reported Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell was ‘deeply embarrassed’ to find ‘Homeland Security officials had designated anti-tax protesters and other people who were exercising their First Amendment right to petition the government as a threat to the state’s infrastructure.’ “I am appalled by the information that was disseminated,” said Rendell. . . . Protesting is not a threat against infrastructure.  Protesting is a God-given American right.””

“President Obama’s liberal critics have complained that, despite his rhetoric, he’s done nothing to obstruct the country’s increasingly anti-democratic thrust.”

“Comedian and political pundit Jon Stewart remarked that while running for office Obama said he would: Prosecute the war on terror without undermining core American values; stop torture renditions to Bagram Air Base and other sites; close Guantanamo; restore Habeas Corpus, and allow terrorists to have their day in court; stop the warrantless wire tapping of Americans; provide protection for whistle blowers, and practice open government.’” 

“Having become president, Stewart lamented: ‘Obama has betrayed every one of those principles.’”

“But Stewart understated the objective situation.  As Chris Hedges points out, during his first year in office Obama actually ‘sought to exceed outrages of the previous administration in areas such as warrantless wire-tapping’ and ‘detention without trial.’”

“Attorney Deborah Weinstein cites an ACLU report which documents: ‘the Obama administration hasn’t merely continued a policy of targeting alleged terrorists, it has added a new wrinkle: American citizens, such as Anwar al-Awlaki, are being placed on the “okay-to-kill” list.’”

Moreover, when the U.S. declared Muslim cleric and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki a ‘terrorist’ because of his incendiary sermons and said he would be assassinated without a trial, it forewarned the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights that: ‘Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) rules prohibit lawyers from providing free representation to people on the terrorist list unless the government gives them permission’, and,‘violations trigger punishment of up to 20 years in jail and fines of up to one million dollars.’” 

“During the Cheney-Bush Administration the CIA maintained ‘black sites’ in Iraq Thailand, Lithuania, Morocco, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Poland, Syria, Jordan, Romania and Afghanistan, to which suspected terrorists were ‘extraordinary-renditioned’ for interrogation using torture.”

“On January 22nd, 2009, two days after taking office, President Obama issued an executive order closing the black sites and banning the use of torture, and in early February, Leon Panetta, chosen to head the CIA, said he would stop the ‘extraordinary renditions.’” 

“But three months later the International Red Cross disclosed a black site still existed at Afghanistan’s Bagram prison and was being run by a ‘relatively new organization’ called ‘the Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC); a torture program that, Andy Worthington remarked ‘could have been lifted straight from the Bush administration’s rule book.’” 

“The Open Society Institute reports Bagram prisoners are isolated in cold cells for long periods, subject to forced nudity and physically abused, and the Red Cross is not allowed access.”

“In July 2010, the Obama Administration ‘completed the handover of 9,250 detainees to Iraqi authorities’ ‘despite knowing there were hundreds of reports of alleged torture in Iraqi government facilities.’”

“Obama may have drastically reduced the number of extraordinary renditions and black sites, but the torture still occurs and, in total contradiction to both U.S. and international law, he has aggressively protected those who carry it out.”

“Civil Rights Attorney Glenn Greenwald recounts that according to the UN Convention Against Torture, which President Reagan signed: ‘Each Party State is required to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory, or, to extradite them to other countries for prosecution. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever,’ are allowed, ’whether a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency may be invoked as a justification of torture.’ The law requires that ‘each State ensure all acts of torture are offenses under its criminal law.’”

“Twenty years later, notes Roberts, ‘U.S. Justice Department officials write memos authorizing torture, despite the ratified Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions.’”

“In addition, Chris Floyd laments: the Supreme Court acquiesced to president Obama’s fervent request and, in a one-line ruling, let stand a lower court decision that declared torture an ordinary, expected consequence of military detention, while introducing a shocking new precedent for all future courts to follow: anyone who is arbitrarily declared a “suspected enemy combatant” by the president or his designated minions is no longer a “person.”  They will simply cease to exist as a legal entity. They will have no inherent rights, no human rights, no legal standing whatsoever — save whatever modicum of process the government arbitrarily deigns to grant them from time to time, with its ever-shifting tribunals and show trials.’”

“‘The Constitution is clear’, Floyd writes: ‘No person can be held without due process; no person can be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.  And the U.S. law on torture of any kind is /likewise/ crystal clear: it is forbidden, categorically, even in time of “national emergency.” . . . And yet this is what Barack Obama — who, we are told incessantly, is a super-brilliant Constitutional lawyer — has been arguing in case after case since becoming president: Torturers are immune from prosecution; those who ordered torture are immune from prosecution. They can’t even be sued for, in the specific case now under review, subjecting uncharged, indefinitely detained captives to “beatings, sleep deprivation, forced nakedness, extreme hot and cold temperatures, death threats, interrogations at gunpoint, and threatened with un-muzzled dogs.” . . . /W/e have established as the law of the land and the policy of the United States government that whole classes of people can be declared “non-persons” and have their liberty stripped away — and their torturers and tormentors protected and coddled by authority — at a moment’s notice, with no charges, no defense, no redress, on nothing more than the suspicion that they might be an “enemy combatant,” according to the arbitrary definition of the state.’”

Giordano Bruno observes Obama has also upheld George W. Bush’s Presidential Directive 51 which, in a ‘national emergency,’ ‘dissolves all states rights and places the entire country under the purview of Northcom, and Homeland Security,’ using ‘continuity of government’ as a justification. The president can ‘declare a state of emergency for almost any reason /and/ members of Congress and even some members of Homeland Security who have requested to read the entire directive have been denied.’”  

“Obama chose Republican Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.”

“Sunstein, relates Roberts, authored an article advocat/ing/ that the U.S. government create a cadre of covert agents to infiltrate anti-war groups and groups opposed to U.S. government policies in order to provoke them into actions or statements for which they can be discredited and even arrested.  Sunstein defines those who criticize the government’s increasingly lawless behavior as “extremists,” which, to the general public, sounds much like “terrorists.” In essence, Sunstein wants to generalize the F.B.I.’s practice of infiltrating dissidents and organizing them around a “terrorist plot” in order to arrest them.’”

“CounterPunch Newsletter author David Price disclosed that during the past five years: ‘without a word of public debate, let alone concern, the CIA has successfully implanted spy schools on 22 university campuses across the country, many of them labeled “Intelligence Community Centers of Academic Excellence. (ICCAE) . . . In the last four years ICCAE has gone further in bringing government intelligence organizations openly to multiple American university campuses than any previous intelligence initiative since World War II. The ICCAE-funded centers have different names at different universities. . . . at the University of Washington, ICCAE funds established the Institute for National Security Education and Research (INSER); Wayne State University’s center is called the Center for Academic Excellence in National Security Intelligence Studies; and Clark Atlantic University’s program is the Center for Academic Excellence in National Security Studies.’”

“‘With the economic downturn,’ Price writes, ‘university layoffs became a common ocurrence. Need breeds opportunism, and a scarcity of funds leads scholars to shift the academic questions they are willing to pursue and suspend ethical and political concerns about funding sources. Other scholars, unwilling to set aside ethical and political concerns, are keenly aware of institutional pressures to keep their outrage and protests in-house.’”

“This ‘spy school’ program, notes Alex Cockburn, hasspread with little public notice, media coverage, or coordinated multi-campus resistance.’”

“Finally, there are the myriad covert intelligence-gathering organizations Dana Priest and William Arkin described in their July 2010 Washington Post article ‘Top Secret America: A Hidden World Growing Beyond Control;a vast array that would earn the admiration of Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’, and distress Kafka’s Joseph K.” 

Priest and Arkin report this recondite world:

“‘. . . has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work. . . . Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counter-terrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.  An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances. In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space. . . . Every day across the United States, 854,000 civil servants, military personnel and private contractors with top-secret security clearances are scanned into offices protected by electromagnetic locks, retinal cameras and fortified walls that eaves-dropping equipment cannot penetrate.’”

“Meanwhile, the FBI has begun doing the kinds of things these hidden intelligence agencies facilitate and Cass Sunstein recommends.”

“In a Democracy Now news report of September 28th, 2010, Amy Goodman described how: ‘Early in the morning on Friday, Sept. 24, FBI agents in Chicago and Minnesota’s Twin Cities kicked in the doors of anti-war activists, brandishing guns, spending hours rifling through their homes. The FBI took away computers, photos, notebooks, and other personal property.  Residents were issued subpoenas to appear before a grand jury in Chicago. It was just the latest in the ongoing crack-down on dissent in the U.S., targeting peace organizers as supporters of ‘foreign terrorist organizations” . . . Jess Sundin’s home was raided. She was the lead organizer of the St. Paul, Minnesota anti-war march on Labor Day 2008, that occurred as the Republican National Convention began. She described the raid:“They spent probably about four hours going through all of our personal belongings, every book, paper, our clothes, and filled several boxes and crates with our computers, our phones, my passport . . . with which they left my house.” They smashed activist Mick Kelly’s fish tank when they barged into his home.  The net cast by the FBI that morning included not only anti-war activists, but those who actively support a changed foreign policy toward Israel-Palestine and Colombia.  The warrant for Kelly sought all records of his travel, not only to those countries, but also all his domestic U.S. travel since 2000, and all his personal contacts.  No one was arrested.  No one was charged with a crime.”’”   

“Such raids, Ron Jacobs exhorted, ‘are an attempt to criminalize antiwar organizing.’”  

(“Fascism!”, someone in the audience suddenly shouted. Then silence. While it wasn’t clear who said it, people seated near the Fox News contingent were staring at Shepard Smith. Wearing a bemused expression, and acting as though he hadn’t heard the outburst, Machiavelli continued:)   

Black Agenda Report Editor Glen Ford proposed the raids have a more ominous significance, writing: ‘The Obama regime would not be going to so much trouble to systematically negate the Constitution just for the fun of it. They have a serious offensive in mind, which may have already begun. . . . A government that claims the right to kill U.S. citizens without even a whiff of due process and for reasons that are secret to the public and to the victim, has broken with every notion of the rule of law since the Magna Carta. The Obama Justice Department has spent every available hour since Inauguration Day building upon George Bush’s fascist logic in an attempt to fashion a flawless Orwellian police state doctrine in which secrecy and security are entwined like a strand of DNA. For targets not marked for oblivion, there awaits a grand jury with boundless powers to ensnare anyone, absolutely anyone.’”

“Ford is not alone in concluding fascism’s on its way.  Syndicated news-talk host Alex Jones was among the first to make that argument, on his radio show, his websites ( and, and in multiple DVDs.”

“Chris Hedges has also said it, predicting: ‘There will be no swastikas this time, but seas of red, white and blue flags and Christian crosses. There will be no stiff-armed salutes, but recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance. There will be no brown shirts but nocturnal visits from Homeland Security. The fear, rage and hatred of our dispossessed and confused working class are being channeled into currents that are undermining the last vestiges of the democratic state. These dangerous emotions, directed against a liberal class that as in ancient Athens betrayed the population, have a strong appeal.’” 

“Jones blames the U.S. descent into authoritarian despotism on international financiers who are working to build a global government they will control. Hedges faults the corporate state and its political minions. While Ford agrees with Dr. Marx that fascism’s a natural by-product of a capitalist order in deep crisis, concluding today ‘capitalism cannot be saved.”’

“Alarmed and angered by the increasing restrictions of/attacks upon personal freedom, several thousand young men, and a minority of women, have responded by founding over 200 armed militias. Many are veterans, some of the war in Iraq.”

“What the militia members share are a libertarian-conservative commitment to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and a belief that the government, having mangled those protective documents, has begun carrying out illegal, immoral and increasingly violent attacks on Americans in order to secure authoritarian control.”

“The militias point to four major events as material evidence: the August 1992 Ruby Ridge, Idaho killing of survivalist Randy Weaver’s son Samuel by a U.S. Marshall and his wife Vicki by an FBI sniper; the BATF/FBI assault on the Branch Davidian compound of David Koresh at Waco, Texas in 1993, which killed 74 members of the church, including many small children; the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and wounding 450; and the 9/11 World Trade Center/Pentagon attack that took nearly 3,000 lives, and has resulted in the deaths of several hundred rescue and cleanup workers in the 9 years since.”

“Ruby Ridge and Waco both led to a sharp growth in the militias.  To those who joined, they revealed the government’s readiness to thwart the Constitution and its authors‘ intent, and, to declare Americans who didn’t submit enemies, then jail, or, at Ruby Ridge and Waco, kill them.”

“Randy Weaver was charged with making a threatening statement about the President and the Pope, and with sawing off the barrels of two shotguns.The first charge was subsequently found to be a lie told by a neighbor against whom Weaver had won a land dispute, requiring the neighbor to pay him $2,100 in ‘court costs and damages;’ and Weaver insisted the shotgun barrels were cut off by a BATF under-cover agent to whom he sold them.”

“However, to the militias, whether Weaver, a fundamentalist christian whose wife believed the apocalypse was immanent, had actually made threatening remarks in the presence of a neighbor or modified the shotguns was immaterial, since such charges are themselves unconstitutional.”

“The first abrogates the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment, they argue. And since the potential enemy the nation’s founders wanted Americans to remain armed against was their own government, for that government to declare sawed-off shotguns, automatic rifles or other defensive weapons illegal, their owners criminals, not only repudiates the Second Amendment and the reasoning of the country’s founders, it’s evidence the founders’ concerns were justified; and, it suggests the time they cautioned against may have arrived.”

“For militiamen the story of Ruby Ridge is simple: using false information and unconstitutional charges the U.S. Marshal Service (USMS) undertook a three-month operation against Randy Weaver, a law-abiding Green Beret veteran, even giving their operation a name: ‘Northern Exposure.‘ The operation led to Weaver’s dog and 14-year-old son being shot and killed by federal Marshals, and a Marshal killed by Weaver’s friend Kevin Harris. Informed of the Marshal’s death the FBI then sent in snipers instructed to ‘shoot on sight,’ without asking for surrender. FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi shot Vicki Weaver in the head through a door window while she held her ten-month-old son in her arms. In subsequent trials Randy Weaver was acquitted of all charges except a failure to appear in court, and Kevin Harris’ killing of the Marshal was found to be self-defense. In out-of-court settlements Weaver was paid $100,000, each of his three daughters $1 million, and Kevin Harris $380,000.“

“In short, for militiamen the Northern Exposure Operation at Ruby Ridge was a clear example of the U.S. government beginning to run wild.”

“The BATF/FBI assault on the Waco compound occurred the following year. Noted author and historian Gore Vidal describes the militiamen’s view of that incident and its implications when he writes:”

‘The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, exercising its mandate to “regulate” firearms, refused all invitations from cult leader David Koresh to inspect his licensed firearms. . . .  /On February 28th, 1993/ more than 100 A.T.F. agents, without proper warrants, attacked the church’s compound while, overhead, at least one A.T.F. helicopter fired at the roof of the main building.  Six Branch Davidians were killed that day.  Four A.T.F. agents were shot dead, by friendly fire, it was thought. . . . followed by a 51-day siege in which loud music was played 24 hours a day outside the compound. Then electricity was turned off.  Food was denied the children.  Meanwhile, the Media were briefed regularly on the evils of David Koresh. . . . Janet Reno, then got tough.  On April 19 she ordered the F.B.I. to finish up what the A.T.F. had begun. . . . In defiance of the Posse Comitatus Act (a basic bulwark of our fragile liberties that forbids the use of the military against civilians), tanks of the Texas National Guard and the army’s Joint Task Force Six attacked the compound with a gas deadly to children and not too healthy for adults while ramming holes in the building. Some Davidians escaped. Others were shot by F.B.I. snipers. . . . Finally, during a six-hour assault, the building was set fire to and then bulldozed by Bradley armored vehicles. . . . It was a great victory for Uncle Sam, as intended by the F.B.I., whose code name for the assault was Show Time. . . . The April 19, 1993, show at Waco proved to be the largest massacre of Americans by their own government since 1890, when a number of Native Americans were slaughtered at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.’”

“The bombing of Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building occurred on April 19th, 1995, exactly two years after the final assault at Waco, intensifying the militias’ dark suspicions.”

“According to the government, Eagle Scout and Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh carried out the bombing with an ammonium-nitrate-fuel-oil (ANFO) bomb placed in a Ryder rental truck.  And, except for Terry Nichols, a friend who helped him prepare the bomb, and Michael Fortier, another friend, who had foreknowledge and approved, McVeigh acted entirely alone.”

“But the government’s explanation was immediately disputed by highly qualified experts, as well as numerous witnesses.  Brigadier General Benton Partin, a retired Air Force explosives specialist, observed: ‘Within hours I was convinced someone was lying.’”

“Partin’s own investigation led him to conclude McVeigh’s ANFO bomb caused only peripheral damage; that most of the destruction was the result of demolition charges ‘set off at four critical columns of the reinforced concrete structure at the floor level of the third floor.’”

“Drawing up a detailed report, Partin sent copies to 75 senators and members of congress, who, he complained, ‘did nothing.‘  He began his July 30th, 1995 cover letter to Senator Trent Lott by recounting his familiarity with explosives:”

“‘I have spent 25 years in research, design, development, test and management of weapons development. This included: hands-on work at the Ballistic Research Laboratories; Commander of the Air Force Armament Technology Laboratory, and ultimately management responsibility for almost every non-nuclear weapon device in the Air Force, at the Air Force System command, Air Staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) levels. I was also the first chairman of the OSD joint service Air Munitions Requirements and Development.’”

“‘Based on my experience in weapons development and bomb damage analysis, and on my review of all evidence available, I can say, with a high level of confidence, that the damage pattern on the reinforced concrete superstructure could not possibly have been attained from the single truck bomb. The total incompatibility of this pattern of destruction with a single truck bomb lies in the simple, incontrovertible fact that some of the columns collapsed that should not have collapsed if the damage were caused solely by a single truck bomb, and, conversely, some of the columns were left standing that should have collapsed if the damage had been caused solely by the truck bomb.’”

“Gore Vidal later obtained a classified report by two independent Pentagon experts who reached Partin’s conclusion, except that they added a 5th inside bomb.”

“Sam Cohen, a noted explosives expert, who invented the neutron bomb and participated in the Manhattan Project building of the atom bomb, agreed with Partin and the Pentagon experts, emphatically stating: ‘I believe demolition charges were placed in the building at certain key concrete columns and that this did the primary damage to the Murrah Federal Building. It would have been absolutely impossible and against the laws of nature for a truck full of fertilizer and fuel oil—no matter how much was used—to bring the building down.’”

“Numerous other experts voiced the same opinion, including: Dr. Ernest Paxson, an engineer with more than 30 years experience in defense projects; physics professors Dr. Robert G. Breene, and Dr. Frederik Hansen, the latter once a NASA research scientist; and physical chemist Dr. Roger Raubach.  Raubach commented: ‘I don’t care if they pulled up a semi-trailer with 20 tons of ammonium nitrate, it wouldn’t do the damage we saw there.” 

“Professional blaster Sam Gronning concurred, saying: “No truck bomb of ANFO out in the open is going to cause the kind of damage we had in Oklahoma City.  In 30 years of blasting, using everything from 100 percent nitrogel to ANFO, I’ve not seen anything to support that story.’” 

“Finding its thesis being shredded, the government gradually increased the estimated size of the ANFO bomb from 1,200 to 4,800 lbs.”

“But, when interviewed by David Hoffman, who authored the most comprehensive and plausible book on the bombing: (The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror), Gronning recalled: ‘I set off a 5,000 lb ANFO charge.  I was standing 1,000 feet from it, and all it did was muss my hair, take out the mud in the creek we were trying to get rid of, and shatter a few leaves off the trees around it.  It didn’t cause any collateral damage to the deeply set trees within 20 feet of it. My knowledge comes from practical handling of explosives, and my belief is that 4,800 lbs of ANFO wouldn’t have scuffed the paint on the building.’”

“McCurtain Daily Gazette investigative reporter J.D. Cash, who spent 11 years researching and writing about the Oklahoma bombing, observed that not one of the 100-plus people he interviewed, many of them experts in chemistry, demolition, seismology and explosives, found the government’s explanation believable.”

“In 1997 Elgin Air Force’s Wright Laboratory built a steel-reinforced structure similar to the Oklahoma City Federal building, and, using much larger ANFO bombs than McVeigh’s, tested its ability to withstand demolition. The 56-page Air Force report concluded:”

“‘It is impossible to ascribe the damage that occurred on April 19, 1995 to a single truck bomb containing 4,800 lbs. of ANFO . . . the damage at the Murrah Building is not the result of the truck bomb itself, but rather due to other factors such as locally placed charges within the building . . . The procedures used to cause the damage to the Murrah Building are more involved and complex than simply parking a truck and leaving . . .’”

“Finally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) report concluded the damage to the Murrah building would have required three times the quantity of ANFO described, an amount the Ryder truck could not possibly carry.”

“General Partin and others who rejected the government’s account noted that although the damaged Murrah building was a crime scene, and engineers said it would be much cheaper to rebuild than replace it, the government promptly had it leveled as a ‘health hazard’ and the debris buried; something General Partin predicted when he found his report being ignored.”

“With few exceptions, witnesses to the bombing all described two distinct explosions. While Dr. Paul Heath, who worked on the fifth floor of the Murrah building, experienced a single blast, most others insisted there were two.  Heath’s colleague Jim Guthrie said he ‘felt a boom and was picked up and thrown under the water fountain’, then ‘heard a second explosion and covered his ears.‘“

Diane Dooley, P.G. Wilson and Jane C. Graham, also at work in the building, likewise described two separate detonations.  Wilson told an investigator: ‘a second explosion came after the first one and shards of glass began flying in the office.’”  

“In videotaped testimony, Graham said: ‘I want to specify the first bomb . . . was a waving effect, that you got when the building was moving . . . perhaps an earthquake movement, and that lasted for several seconds.  About 6 or 7 seconds later, a bomb exploded. It was an entirely different sound and thrust. . . . The second blast not only was very, very loud, it was also very powerful.’”

“Hoffman interviewed others who were near, rather than in, the Murrah building at the moment of the bombing, and they, too, spoke of two distinct explosions. Delivery truck driver Hassan Muhammad told Hoffman: /T/he first explosion went off, and it was a loud explosion. And my friend who was coming out of the warehouse asked me what it was, because we thought it was a drive-by shooting . . . we got on the ground, and by the time we got on the ground another one went off, and that’s when all the windows came out.’”    

“Michael Hinton, who was riding on a bus nearby, said: ‘I had just sat down when I heard this violent type rumble under the bus . . . It actually raised the bus up on its side.  About six or seven seconds later another one which was more violent than the first picked the bus up again, and I thought that second time the bus was going to turn over.’”

“Attorney Charles Watts, who was in the Courthouse located across the street from the Oklahoma City Federal Building, told Media Bypass magazine he had also heard and felt two separate blasts.”

“Both seismographs in the region—one at the University of Oklahoma, located 16 miles from the epicenter, the other at the Omniplex Museum, just 4 miles away—registered two seismic events, 7 to 10 seconds apart. University of Oklahoma senior geophysicist Raymond Brown interpreted that as clear evidence there were two explosions, a conclusion with which his colleague Dr. Ken Luza and most other geophysicists who studied the matter agreed.”

“United States Geological Survey (USGS) geologist Dr. Thomas Holzer disputed the majority’s interpretation of the seismographs, proposing two separate waves from the same explosion traveled through the earth at different speeds and gave the illusion of two events: a ‘wave propagation phenomenon.’ To which Brown responded: ‘I will candidly say that we are having trouble finding that velocity difference,  We have not identified a pair of layers that could account for the ten second difference.’”

“The FBI abruptly ended any further examination and debate by taking possession of the seismograms and refusing to make them available.”

“However Hoffman, rather cautiously, observed: ‘Taken together, the evidence and witness accounts appear to indicate that there were at least two blasts on the morning of April 19th.’” 

“Then there was the matter of unexploded bombs said to have been recovered from the shattered federal structure.”

“Shortly after the rescue of injured survivors began, Channel 4 News and KFOR TV-5 reported the FBI had confirmed a bomb was found in the East side of the building.  Later, KFOR announced that bomb had been defused, while another, larger one, ‘had been discovered on the building’s West side and was being worked on’.  Channel 9 reported the Department of Justice (DOJ) had also confirmed the existence of two unexploded bombs. Oklahoma City Police Lieutenant Bill Martin told an investigator (on tape), that one bomb contained Mercury Fulminate, a ‘powerful explosive’ which Hoffman noted only the military can obtain. The April 19th radio logs of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol recorded that two unexploded bombs were discovered; and a ‘Department of Defense Atlantic Command memo indicated two unexploded bombs /were/ found in the building, as did a U.S. Forces Command Daily Log and a FEMA situation report.’”

“Suddenly, Hoffman observes ‘all these reports were . . . hushed up, and denied later on. . . . The additional bombs inside the building became a car-bomb outside the building, then a van containing 2,000 pounds of ANFO, then a truck containing 4,800 pounds.’”

“Immediately after the bombing, a Federal Grand Jury was impaneled to determine who was responsible. No less immediately, it became evident the government had already decided the Grand Jury’s finding: McVeigh and Nichols alone caused the disaster; their weapon an ANFO bomb.”

“Each Federal Grand Juror was given a handbook describing their authority, which included the power to call witnesses. But, the only ‘witnesses’ the presiding judge would allow to testify were people who had neither expertise in explosives nor evidence to offer about the bombing.”

“At first, the media spoke of the possibility McVeigh had accomplices besides Nichols. Many people claimed they saw McVeigh with other men on, or just before, the day of the bombing. Three workers at the auto body shop where he rented the truck gave detailed descriptions of a man they insisted was with him, an infamous John Doe #2.  The Federal Grand Jury was not permitted to hear from any of them.”

“Five-term Oklahoma State representative Charles Key, one of many who were angered by the government’s subterfuge, noted: ‘the federal prosecutors barred every single witness to John Doe(s) from the Federal Grand Jury.  Of more than 20 witnesses to one or more John Doe(s), none–not even one–were allowed to tell the Grand Jury what they saw. . . . Did you hear that right? Yes, you did.  As bizarre as it sounds, Federal Prosecutors were not allowing any of those witnesses to be seen or heard by the Federal Grand Jury. This gives “blind justice” a whole new meaning.’” 

“In disgust, Grand Juror Hoppy Heidelberg wrote a letter to presiding judge David Russell requesting that, as per the Jurors’ Handbook, he be allowed to call witnesses. The judge responded:”

“‘”Effective immediately, you are dismissed from the Grand Jury. Your obligation of secrecy continues. Any disclosure of matters that occurred before the Grand Jury constitutes a contempt of court. Each violation of the obligation of secrecy may be punished cumulatively.’”

“Heidelberg later told reporters: ‘I knew it was a coverup when they wouldn’t show a sketch of John Doe Two to the witnesses. They brought in all these people who knew nothing about the bombing, but they wouldn’t call the real witnesses who’d seen McVeigh at the crime scene. Why?  Because they all saw other men with McVeigh, that’s why, and they didn’t want the citizens of this country to find out about that.’”

“The BATF had a base of operations in the Murrah building.  Many of the firemen and police who arrived on the scene within minutes of the explosion reported the BATF field agents employed there all showed up afterwards. None had been killed or injured.”

“Bruce Shaw, whose wife worked in the federal building, told State Legislator Key that when he arrived to search for her a BATF agent told him: ‘‘You won’t find any BATF agents in the building because they were warned on their pagers not to come in this morning, and they’re now in debriefing.’  Shaw’s boss, Tony Brasier, who joined Shaw to look for his wife, corroborated the agent’s statement.”

“In a sworn statement, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Katherine E. Mallette said two BATF agents had passed her while she was preparing to take injured victims to the hospital in her ambulance and one said to the other: ‘Is that why we got the page not to come in today?’” 

“Another EMT who transported victims said she initially thought a gas line had exploded. Knowing the BATF had an office in the Murrah Building, she stated that when she ‘expressed concern’ about them to an agent at the site he replied: ‘We weren’t in there today.’” 

“Several people who worked at the Oklahoma City Federal Building insisted they saw bomb squad agents in full Hazmat gear congregating near the structure prior to the bombing.”

“With polls showing 70 percent of Oklahomans believed the government was engaged in a cover up, and that the Federal Grand Jury would not carry out a serious investigation, Key asked the House Committee of the State Legislature to do it. They ‘turned him down flatly.‘“

“Since Oklahoma law provides for the impaneling of a County Grand Jury if 10,000 residents request it, Key and Glenn Wilburn, ‘who lost two grand-children in the bombing,’ got 13,500 county residents to sign a petition and filed for an independent County Grand Jury investigation.”

“The reaction of state and federal authorities and the media to their petition was immediate and uniformly hostile. Presiding State District Judge Dan Owens officially blocked the petition, forcing Kay and Wilburn to appeal. When the Oklahoma Court of Appeals granted Key and Wilburn’s request, their opponents then appealed to the State Supreme Court.” 

“While the latter appeal was under consideration Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, a former FBI agent who had once overseen the BATF, went on the attack, arguing: ‘raising questions would not bring one whit of intelligence to the process,’ that Kay and Wilburn were ‘off the reservation,’ and ‘howling at the moon.’” 

“County District Attorney Robert Macy and Attorney General Drew Edmondson joined in the ridicule, Edmondson accusing Key of a ‘wasteful witch hunt‘ and ‘the worst kind of paranoid conspiracy pandering.’”       

“The Daily Oklahoman and Tulsa World printed a total of nine editorial attacks on Key, Wilburn and their supporters. One Daily Oklahoman editorial exhorted: ‘As we argued when Key first set out on this course, the Legislature and its staff have no business investigating the bombing.  It was, and is, poorly equipped to do so.  The same can be said of a panel of local citizens. . . . ’ DROP IT MR. KEY!’”

“But on February 18th, 1997 the State Supreme Court of Oklahoma ‘miraculously,’ in Key’s words, ruled in Key and Wilburn’s favor.”

“Informed of the Court’s decision, Key enthused: ‘Now the forgotten families, survivors, and victims who died from the blast will have their right to a County Grand Jury and a full, open and truthful investigation.’”

“Like the majority of Oklahomans, Key and Wilburn anticipated the County Grand Jury’s investigation would answer specific questions: Was the primary damage to the Murrah Federal Building caused by McVeigh’s ANFO bomb, or, was it the result of more powerful explosives detonated within?  Did McVeigh have as yet unnamed accomplices? If so, who were they and what roles did they play?  To what extent were the BAFT, FBI and other government agencies involved in the bombing, and a subsequent attempt to coverup how and why it happened?”

“Convinced they already had partial answers to these question, Key, Wilburn and their supporters expected the jury to fill in the blanks and, most importantly, to discover material proof.”

Conscious of the numerous explosives experts who dismissed as silly the government’s contention McVeigh’s ANFO bomb did all the Murrah Building damage, aware no independent experts had come forth to defend it, they hoped the jury’s findings would give these and other critical facts respectability, and, that the media would feel compelled to report them.”

“Regarding McVeigh having as yet unnamed accomplices, based on testimony provided by a large number of witnesses, Key, Wilburn et al. believed the jury would find that he did, and, would not only identify them, particularly the mysterious John Doe #2, but would detail the parts they played. They were also confident the BAFT and FBI would be exposed as having been deeply involved in preparations for the bombing, as well as being responsible for the subsequent obfuscations.”

“In addition to the testimony of experts in explosives, demolition, chemistry and seismology, they expected the County Grand Jurors would hear:”

“*That the BATF and FBI had informants at Elohim City, a 400 acre compound located near Muldrow, Oklahoma, where members of The Covenant and the Sword, Aryan Republican Army, Aryan Nation, the Arm of the Lord, White Aryan Resistance and other extreme right Christian Identity organizations lived and operated.”

“*That BATF documents Key obtained revealed Carol Howe, a former beauty queen who began working as a paid BATF informant at Elohim City in 1994, had told her handler, agent Angela Finley, that two men, Andreas Strassmeir and Dennis Mahon, were planning to bomb the Oklahoma City Federal Building, and would probably do it on April 19th.”

“*That Strassmeir, the son of a prominent German politician, had been trained in ‘military intelligence operations’ at Germany’s Bundeswehr Academy, and, that he held ‘diplomatic Immunity’ to be in the U.S.”

“*That ‘a highly-placed source’ in the intelligence division of the FBI informed  McCurtain Daily Gazette reporter Cash that Strassmeir, like Howe, was a ‘paid BATF informant’ assigned to Elohim City. Cash would also testify that Strassmeir, who returned to Germany right after the bombing, personally told him he taught McVeigh how to build an ANFO bomb, suggesting he might be the elusive John Doe #2.”

“*That the government had shown no interest in extraditing Strassmeir, or in pursuing leads about his involvement, insisting witnesses to his presence with Mc-Veigh were simply mistaken; that they had actually seen Fort Riley Private Todd Bunting who, accompanied by a friend, rented a truck from the same body shop the day after McVeigh, and that a real John Doe #2 never existed.”

“Although Key did not appear to consider it crucial, many Oklahomans were hopeful the jurors would also investigate the ambiguous circumstances attending the deaths of three men who arrived on the scene immediately after the explosion: General Services Administration (GSA) planner Michael Loudenslager, whose office was in the building; Dr. Don Chumley, who ran a clinic nearby, and Oklahoma City police officer Terrance Yeakey.”

“For weeks prior to the bombing Mike Loudenslager had expressed alarm at the huge quantity of ordnance—guns, hand grenades and other explosives—the BATF and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) were storing at the Murrah Building. When Loudenslager had the building’s Security Director file a complaint with the GSA, the Security Director lost his job. The Security Director’s wife operated the children’s Day Care Center in the building and, following remodeling—in accordance with the law—she asked Oklahoma City fire marshals to carry out a safety inspection. But when fire marshals arrived federal agents would not permit them to do the inspection, and the Day Care Center operator’s contract was then revoked.”

“Dr. Chumley and Terry Yeakey depicted Loudenslager as active in the rescue. At one point he was said to be ‘arguing heatedly’ with another man; probably, it was supposed, because he believed the BATF bore great responsibility for the bombing and fatalities.”

“Suddenly, despite reports of injured people screaming for help, the rescue operation was temporarily suspended while federal agents removed ordnance from the building.  According to Cash, they took out ‘hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition, boxes marked explosives, hand grenades, everything short of a Russian T-72 tank.’  During the ordnance removal the federal agents said they found Mike Loudenslager’s body at his desk where he had been killed by the explosion.”

“Dr. Chumley and officer Terry Yeakey were adamant that Loudenslager was alive after the bombing.”

“Then it was reported Loudenslager’s body was actually discovered at the base of a stairwell, where he had been crushed by a falling slab of concrete as he ‘headed for the second floor day care center‘ during the rescue, and that it ‘took two shifts of men working with jackhammers to free him’. However, Loudenslager’s ‘rescuers’ did not come forward to verify they played that role.”

“In addition to the strange accounts of Loudenslager’s death, Chumley and Yeakey were described as possessing damning information, and anxious to testify about the disturbing things they had witnessed. According to investigative reporter Michelle Moore, two uninjured federal agents, claiming they were in the building when it was bombed, requested that Dr. Chumley bandage them. When he refused they asked another doctor on site to do it, and Chumley threatened to report them.”

“An experienced pilot, with 600 hours of flight time and an instrument rating, Dr. Chumley took off from Tulsa airport in his private Cessna 210 on September 24th, 1995, five days after the bombing.  Reaching an altitude of several thousand feet, his plane suddenly dove into the ground, killing him instantly.”

“According to Federal Aviation Authority investigators, the throttle of Chumley’s Cessna was still set at cruise speed, the plane’s flaps and landing gear were up, and they could discern ‘no anomalies with the engine or airframe.‘ Nor did a ‘pathological examination‘ of Chumley’s body determine a condition which might have ‘contributed to the accident.’”

“Chumley’s stepson, Shaun Jones observed: ‘The thing that’s odd is Don was perfectly healthy. . . He was talking to the tower, and from one minute to the next he just went straight smack down into the ground.’

“The death of 30-year-old policeman Terry Yeakey was even more puzzling. A large man of 6‘ 3” and 275 lbs., Yeakey had remained at the devastated Murrah structure late into the night on the day of the bombing, and was credited with personally rescuing four victims.”

“When his ex-wife Tonia picked him up that evening, she said on getting into the car he agitatedly told her: ‘It’s not what they’re saying it is!  It’s not what they’re saying it is!’ ‘It’s all a lie!’”

“Over the next year, as Yeakey assembled several boxes of files detailing what he and others had witnessed, friends and family members described him as increasingly anxious. Tonia related that on one occasion, without calling in advance, which ‘was completely out of character’, he arrived at her door in the middle of the night to urge they remarry, saying otherwise she and their two children would not be covered by insurance in the event something happened to him.”

“Then, unexpectedly, on May 8th, 1996 Terry Yeakey was dead: a ‘suicide’ according to public records, although no autopsy was performed, and the police did not carry out an investigation.”

“Retired Tulsa police investigator Craig Roberts, who served as a marine sniper  during the Vietnam War, and was assigned by the FBI to help with investigating the Oklahoma City bombing, was one of many who rejected the idea Yeakey had killed himself.”

“On June 12th, 1998, Roberts sent a letter to Oklahoma City Police Chief M.T.  Berry, requesting an inquiry into Yeakey’s ‘suicide’ but was summarily rebuffed. On May 1st, 2006 he wrote to Berry’s successor, Chief William Citty, again urging an investigation of Yeakey’s death.”

“Roberts began his second letter with the observation he had worked on the bombing inquiry for several months and ‘found many discrepancies in the investigation that made me determine the whole story would never be told, and that things were being ignored or covered up . . . One instance I found extremely disturbing, and very suspect, was the death of one of your officers: Sgt. Terrance Yeakey. . . . Though it was originally written up as a suicide, I feel the evidence and facts point to a torture/homicide.’”  

“Explaining why he reached that conclusion, Roberts cited what he called ‘a few of the items that do not figure in a suicide’:

*Yeakey’s gunshot wound: /The/ gunshot was from the upper right side of his skull downward to an exit wound below his left cheek bone.  Hardly an angle of a self-inflicted wound. This wound would be consistent to one fired “execution style” into the skull of a kneeling victim from an angle above and to one side of the victim.

*/The/ wound was small caliber and left a small entrance and exit hole, with only “soot” at the entrance wound. It was a contact wound showing a barrel imprint,  but there were no blasting (staration) effects of muzzle gases on the wound margins.  This would be more indicative of a silencer that would absorb the gasses.  

There were multiple cuts on his wrists, inner elbows, and juglar veins. If he was going to shoot himself, why would he cut himself so many times?

His estranged wife, Tonia, told me she talked to the funeral home that received Yeakey’s body, and they told her there were rope marks around his neck, and  handcuff marks on his wrists–none of which are indicated in the official medical examiner’s report.

He was found in a field 1/2 mile from where his car was discovered by a Canadian County SO deputy.  He had, in the middle of the night, crossed a barbed wire fence, a ditch/creek, and then killed himself in the middle of a pasture. Why go to that trouble?  Why not just kill himself in his car, or his apartment?  

He told a friend the afternoon he disappeared that he was being followed, and as soon as he shook his followers he’d be back and meet him for dinner.  He also removed boxes of files from his apartment and had them in his car when he left to stash them in his mini-storage . . . The files were not in his car when it was found.

Did anyone ever attempt to find the bullet that allegedly was used at the scene?  If so, were ballistics tests done to link it with a particular gun? 

* Was a gun found at the scene, and was it his gun?  I ask this because it was relayed to me that no gun was found until an hour after his body was located.’” 

“‘There are many more unanswered questions . . . It would appear that this tragic event centers on what Terry Yeakey had in his files, and who wanted to make sure those files were never discovered. One question that needs to be answered is “what happened to those files Yeakey took with him that day to place in storage?’” 

“Despite the requests from Roberts and others, no investigation of Yeakey’s death was ever carried out.”

“As for the County Grand Jury Key and Wilburn expended so much time and energy seating, it met for 18 months, heard testimony from 117 witnesses, then issued a 21-page report which echoed the finding of the Federal Grand Jury: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were alone responsible for the bombing.”

“Given the conditions under which the jurors met, it would seem impossible for them to have reached a different conclusion.”

“The District Attorneys, ostensibly there to provide jurors with legal advice, focused instead on discrediting witnesses.”

“State of Oklahoma private investigator Cate McCauley, who served on McVeigh’s appellate team, complained:‘the judge in the case, the Oklahoma Attorney General, and on down the list, . . . have tried to sway this grand jury more than anyone else. They’ve said ordinary people cannot investigate a crime of this magnitude, that we are nothing more than a bunch of conspiracy nuts, that we have no legitimate interest in this.’” 

“Presiding judge William Burkett publicly stated the jury should be meeting to indict State Representative Key, rather than investigate the bombing.  He instructed jurors they were not to read ‘any media reports, books or magazine articles’ about the bombing; and, while they could listen to witness testimony and hearsay evidence, they could not use it to issue indictments, or to call additional witnesses, or, to reach their conclusions.”

“Investigator Pat Briley said Burkett’s order: ‘totally undercut the way grand juries run—state and federal. The way you get firsthand witnesses is you call credible secondhand, hearsay witnesses to get closer to the firsthand witnesses, you do an investigation, that’s the function of a grand jury.’”

“But the jurors followed Judge Burkett’s instruction. ‘We are all “bad guys” because we didn’t believe the official story’, one witness observed. ‘They listened to us, but could not accept any of it, and they decided we were all lacking in credibility . . . which is incredulous to me because of all the solid indisputable evidence that was laid at their feet.’”    

“David Hoffman sent jurors copies of his book, The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror, along with a cover letter.  When subsequently called to testify Hoffman was charged with ‘jury tampering,’ the only person indicted.”

“The media proved equally unwilling to challenge the government’s account of the bombing. According to Key, ABC was preparing a story about the government’s ‘prior knowledge’, /but/ the Justice Department became aware of it and contacted executives at ABC. Acknowledging the validity of the story they put extreme pressure on ABC not to air the report.’”

“There’s no question that the BATF and FBI were responsible for the Northern Exposure attack on Randy Weaver and the Waco disaster, since they not only acknowledged but defended those operations. However, you must decide for yourselves whether the militiamen, libertarians and leftists who insist those agencies were also involved in the Oklahoma City bombing, then worked to conceal their involvement, are correct.”

“Convinced they were, Gore Vidal, McVeigh’s attorney Stephen Jones, State Legislator Key, General Partin, and California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher hypothesized the bombing might have been the result of ‘a BATF-FBI sting operation gone bad.’  Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, a noted reporter and Business Editor of the Daily Telegraph, reached the same conclusion, saying ‘it was an FBI sting operation that went horribly wrong,’ and the government subsequently ‘covered it up.’”

“In interviews, and during his trial, McVeigh insisted he had acted alone. However, based on his personal investigation of the disaster and lengthy correspondence with McVeigh, Vidal concluded: ‘It may well be McVeigh did not do it. In fact, I am sure he didn’t do it. But when he found out he was going to be the patsy, he did something psychologically very strange. He decided to grab all the credit for himself, because he had no fear of death.’ Similarly, McVeigh’s attorney Jones said: ‘I don’t doubt Tim’s role in the conspiracy.  But I think he clearly aggrandized his role, enlarged it, to cover for others who were involved.‘ And Legislator Key stated: “I don’t know why McVeigh is saying it, but we know for a fact that when he claims he was the only one involved that this is a flat out lie.’”

“General Partin and others who insisted it would have been physically impossible for an ANFO bomb to destroy so much of the Murrah Federal Building, suspected McVeigh’s truck may also have carried a more powerful device, perhaps without McVeigh even being aware of it; that this device exploded first along with the ANFO bomb, destroying the Ryder truck and doing considerable damage to the outside of the building, followed 7-10 seconds later by the explosion of more powerful bombs placed within. McVeigh, they reasoned, might have been a super-patriotic patsy.”

“In an affidavit of March 2007, Terry Nichols stated former FBI official Larry Potts directed McVeigh to ‘orchestrate’ the bombing; that McVeigh said so prior to the bombing in a “slip of the tongue” when he was he was angry with Potts for “changing the target”.

(Pausing only momentarily, Machiavelli continued:)

“Then came the notorious September 11th, 2001 attacks on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon, claiming 3,000 lives.”

“Not only militiamen, but many libertarians and leftists, believe 9/11 proves the federal government has begun to turn on the American people.”

“I’m not going to review what they consider confirmation that the military, the CIA and other federal agencies were in some way complicit. Their arguments, evidence and analyses are exhaustive; and, since most of you are reporters, politicians and political scientists, I assume you already know them well.”

“If you do not—if ten years after that monumental event you remain unfamiliar with the reasoning of the 9/11 Truth Movement—I find your ignorance a verification that you look to the government and its minions for truth, rather than to your own ability to reason.”

“Understand I do not make this observation disparagingly!  To say it again, being a scientific materialist, I recognize our species’ preservation has always required a minority of leaders to lead and the herd majority to follow.  If you’re a member of the latter, where defending the nation and our species is concerned you play no less vital a role.”

“However, if you would understand the militias you must recognize that—right or wrong—they are convinced the government oversaw, or at least had prior knowledge of, the infamous 9/11 attacks. They’re aware 1452 professional engineers and architects share their opinion; as do 1,000-plus scholars, and over 300 commercial pilots, one of whom flew two of the 757s used in the attack. Prominent media figures, including investigative reporter Geraldo Rivera, who I see in the audience, and Judge Andrew Napolitano, the moderator of this debate, have also expressed doubt about the government’s  explanation of 9/11.”

“It’s no mystery, then, why militiamen see themselves as 21st century patriots akin to those who fought the American Revolution.”

“Accused of being bigoted rightwing extremists, pro-violence and racist by government representatives and the media, many militias have set up websites and posted ‘Mission Statements’ to counter those perceptions. To give you a few examples:”

Empire State Militia, 11th Field Force: ‘With very few restrictions, membership in the militia must be open to all citizens regardless of race, sex, religion or political affiliation. Units not open to public membership and/or which are organized for any purpose other than the support of Constitutional principals may be considered private armies and are not to be confused with the Constitutional “unorganized” militia.’”

“Pennsylvania 1st Unorganized Militia–Our Rights – Our Duties: to insure that all citizens-regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality, shall have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as established and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America.’”

Michigan Militia: ‘We hold that there is but one race, that being the human one, and that there is but one condition toward which it should strive, that being one of freedom. Everyone is welcome, regardless of race, creed, color, tint, or hue; regardless of your religion (or lack thereof); regardless of your political affiliation (or lack thereof); regardless of anything else: if you are an American who is capable of bearing arms, or /who/ wishes to support someone doing so, then you ARE the militia.’”

“Indiana Citizens Volunteer Militia: ‘We support a Constitutionally limited government and defend the American ideals of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. We are open to all Indiana citizens regardless of religion, race, creed, or sex. The militia, as an organization, has no religious theme; is not racial in nature; nor does it advocate terrorism or violence.’”

“The Virginia Militia: ‘The purpose of the Virginia Militia is to work for the restoration of all constitutional rights affirmed by the Constitution of the United States.  We assert that all power is inherent in the people and it is our right and duty to protect and defend this Republic against all enemies, foreign and domestic. . . .  We are not advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government, but we do advocate resistance to Unconstitutional legislation and executive orders. . . . All persons are welcomed in the Virginia Militia, the only requirement is a love of liberty, and a return to the ideals of our forefathers contained in the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States.’”

“Tall Grass Guard of the Nebraska State Militia: ‘We are open to all citizens regardless of race, sex, religion, or political affiliation. . . . The militia, as an organization, has no religious theme; is not racial in nature; nor does it advocate terrorism or violence. We welcome Americans of all races, cultures, and beliefs; we gain nothing from turning anyone away, regardless of the hue of their skin. . . . the militia is as diverse as the general population. There are, however, individuals or groups that claim to be militias that say they are of a superior race fighting the “great race war…to annihilate the mud people”. These individuals or groups are not militias – they are racists.’”

“Kentucky State Militia:  ‘We accept and welcome all who wish to preserve our freedoms and maintain a civilization we can be proud to leave our children and grandchildren; regardless of race, sex, or religion. We maintain a firm belief that every man, woman, or family may live, worship, and teach their children as they wish for so long as it respects the personal rights and beliefs of others. . . . as a group, KSM will not tolerate racism, anti-Semitism, or prejudice of sex. All are welcome and will be treated with respect.’”

“Given the convictions and concerns which bind them, militia members are understandably troubled that the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 has been rescinded. Posse Comitatus mandated that all uniformed federal troops ‘are prohibited from exercising police powers in any U.S. state or possession.‘  Only the Coast Guard was made exempt.”

“In 2006, under the rubric of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, Posse Comitatus was amended to read:  ‘The President may employ the armed forces… to… restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition… the President determines …/that/ the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order.‘“

In a word, Posse Comitatus was declared dead.” 

“Those who sought to regenerate it grew optimistic when, under pressure from the states, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 stipulated the federal government could mobilize the federal army only if ‘constituted authorities of that State are unable, fail, or refuse to protect . . . ‘“ 

“Their optimism was extinguished on January 11th, 2010 when President Obama issued an Executive order ‘making the National Guard part of the military’s ‘Total Force’.”  

“Although Obama’s Executive Order established a ‘bipartisan Council of Governors, appointed by the president, to give advice, it removed any lingering confusion: The states’ National Guard units and federal armed forces had been assimilated. They were under Department of Defense (DOD) control, and, Posse Comitatus would not be resurrected.”

“The libertarian and militia response was immediate. headlined: ‘Obama Implements Bush’s Martial Law Councils’, while the Indiana Militia called the Executive Order ‘police state legislation.’”

“The Atheist Conservative website hypothesized the Obama Administration had an ulterior motive, saying the order: ‘strongly suggests’ the Council of Governors ‘is an incipient federal internal security authority which, to have any real function beyond “the exchange of views, information and advice”, might be intended to prepare a cover for the formation, with apparent states’ approval, of a national armed force for internal deployment.’”

“Pastor Chuck Baldwin agreed, writing:‘That more of us are not as concerned as we should be /about Obama’s Executive Order/ can be traced to the mistaken belief the American people have nothing to fear from an overreaching federal government. This is pure folly! As I have said many times, we have far more to fear from Washington, D.C., than from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, or any other potential terrorist state. It is Washington, D.C.—and Washington, D.C., alone—that has the power, opportunity, and propensity to squash our freedom and sell us into tyranny.’”

“Early the next month federal authorities dispatched National Guard troops to Pittsburgh following a heavy snowstorm, prompting Paul Joseph Watson to caution: ‘Hundreds of National Guard soldiers have been helping Pittsburgh’s emergency personnel respond to residents’ needs; and beginning tonight they’re going to be patrolling some city streets . . .  Americans are again being conditioned to accept the sight of troops patrolling the streets and dealing with domestic law enforcement issues under the pretext of National Guard soldiers “helping;” . . . the same soldiers who just months ago were also “helping” authorities brutalize innocent people during the G20 summit in Pittsburgh.’”

“Libertarians and militiamen point to the Obama Administration’s position on gun control as further confirmation the U.S. is becoming a fascist state.”

“At political rallies in Boise, Idaho and Duryea, Pennsylvania, and in a meeting with the press, candidate Obama reassured those who feared he would fail to honor the Second Amendment, saying: ‘I’m not going to take your guns away,‘ ‘I think you can take me at my word.’”

“President Obama, on the other hand, supports Attorney General Eric Holder’s anti-Second Amendment program.  Holder not only seeks to ban anyone whose name is on the Federal Terror Watch List from buying a gun, but to confiscate the guns of persons on the list who already own them.  Libertarians and militiamen note that the 400,000 people on the Watch List (the ACLU says 1,000,000) aren’t terrorists. They are activists who protest government policies; and, the militiamen assume, many are surely members of militias.’”

“Militia members and libertarians note that while the U.S. has been killing tens-of-thousands of innocent people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq (collateral damage of its Mid East operations), President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are promoting the pending United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, which would ‘prohibit the transfer of gun ownership, require all guns to be micro-stamped for identification, and require Americans to turn over any banned firearms for destruction or face imprisonment.’”  

“Also alarming libertarians, independents, militamen and many leftists are the Obama Administration’s invasive airport security methods.”

“Libertarians and independents were the first to sound the tocsin about the back-scatter body scanners that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in-stalled at 60 airports, and its stated intention to employ them universally.”

“The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed a lawsuit to stop the use of scanners, calling it a flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment.” ‘Without probable cause and a warrant, says EPIC’s Executive Director, Marc Rotenberg, ‘the government doesn’t have a right to peer beneath your clothes.’”  

“While the TSA insists the radiation from body scanners is harmless, many experts dispute that claim.”

Bloomberg News pointed out the Environmental Protection Agency has cautioned: ‘frequent exposure to low doses of radiation can lead to cancer and birth defects.‘  Frequent flyers will obviously receive a ‘frequent exposure to low doses.’”

“Dr. Michael Love, head of an X-ray laboratory at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine predicts: ‘Statistically, someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays.’ Dr. John Sedat, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco agrees, proposing:‘’the dose of radiation delivered to the skin may be dangerously high.’ In testimony before the Congressional Biomedical Caucus, Dr. David Brenner of Columbia University observed radiation from the backscatter machines is most concentrated on the top of the head where 85 percent of basal cell carcinomas occur.”

“Apprehensive about the ionizing radiation, ‘Captain Dave Bates, president of the Allied Pilots Association, urged pilots to refuse back-scatter screening,’ saying: ‘Airline pilots in the United States already receive higher doses of radiation in their on-the-job environment than nearly every other category of worker in the United States, including nuclear power plant employees.’”

“Bates recommended pilots who refused body-scanning should also resist ‘private pat-downs,’ calling them ‘intentional humiliation’ and ‘demeaning.’”  

“In response to Bates complaint and the decision of two airline pilots to file their own Fourth Amendment lawsuits, the TSA subsequently decided airline pilots don’t need to be either screened or patted down after all.” and other libertarian/independent websites argue the use of scanners and mortifying pat-downs is but another aspect of the government’s effort to accustom Americans to invasion and control of their lives, yet more evidence of the Obama Administration’s malevolent intent.”

They cite Bloomberg’s disclosure that Obama pledged $734 million to deploy airport scanners, and Forbes revelation that ‘500 backscatter scanners mounted in vans’ and ‘capable of seeing through clothes and walls,’ are ‘being deployed on the streets of U.S. cities to search for vehicle-based bombs.’ “ 

“Following a November 16th, 2010 Drudge Report and a PrisonPlanet segment on the TSA’s decision to have agents put their hands inside baggy sweat pants, the subject of airport screening went ‘viral’ on the internet.”

“This much is indisputable: whatever justifications the TSA may give for back-scatter screening and pat-downs, and whether or not one accepts those justifications, EPIC is right when it argues both are gross violations of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

“The federal government has also begun searching for terrorists at popular tourist sites. Visitors to the Statue of Liberty and the U.S.S. Constitution find they, too, must go through invasive security systems, including metal detectors.”

“On September 29th, 2010, a ‘Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPER)’ team which included agents from Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, and the Transportation Security Administration, conducted what it described as a ‘training exercise’ outside of Atlanta, Georgia, forcing trucks to pass through a ‘counter-terror’ checkpoint-inspection.”

“The next month a TSA/VIPER team arrived at the Tampa, Florida bus station to ‘pat down’ bus passengers; a TSA spokesman explaining the pat downs were done ‘in case we have to do it in the future.’”

“Then in December the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it was installing checkout-counter ‘telescreens’ in 800 Walmart stores.  Among other things, the telescreens will implore customers: ‘If you see something, say something!’  The DHS called the telescreens another manifestation of it’s commitment to keep Americans safe, adding they will soon be installed at many large businesses, sports stadiums and 9,000 federal buildings.”

“Libertarians and independents have also pointed to South Carolina’s Subversive Activities Registration Act (SERA), and Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman’s ‘Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act (S.3081)’ as giant steps toward the creation of a fascist America.”

Passed by South Carolina’s legislature in 2009 and ratified in February 2010, SERA mandates: ‘Every member of a subversive organization, or an organization subject to foreign control, every foreign agent and every person who advocates, teaches, advises or practices the duty, necessity or propriety of controlling, conducting, seizing or overthrowing the government of the United States … shall register with the Secretary of State.‘“

“‘Under the sweeping terms of the law,’ writes Paul Joseph Watson, ‘members of tax protest organizations, the Tea Party movement and the States’ Rights movement based in South Carolina are all domestic terrorists if they fail to register their dissent with the authorities . . . If such groups don’t obtain what amounts to a license from the government to engage in free speech, their members face a $25,000 fine and 10 years in prison.’” 

“Watson pointed to the inherent irony, observing: ‘The right to overthrow a government that has become corrupt, abusive and completely unrepresentative of its electorate is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence – that’s how America came to be a Republic in the first place. Advocating or teaching that the people should “control” the government via their elected representatives is a basic function of a democratic society; but this law effectively makes it a terrorist offense.’”

“A few weeks later Senators McCain and Lieberman introduced their ‘Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010‘ in the Senate.”

“If S.3081 passes, notes AlterNet’s Liliana Segura, it ‘would set this country on a course to become a military dictatorship. . . . grant/ing/ the president the power to order the arrest, interrogation, and imprisonment of anyone–including a U.S. citizen–indefinitely, on the sole suspicion that he or she is affiliated with terrorism, and on the president’s sole authority as commander in chief.’”

“Segura cited the bill’s serpentine phraseology:”

“‘Whenever within the United States, its territories and possessions, or outside the territorial limits of the United States, an individual is captured or otherwise comes into custody or under the effective control of the United States who is suspected of engaging in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners through an act of terrorism, or by other means in violation of the laws of war, or of purposely and materially supporting such hostilities, and who may be an unprivileged enemy belligerent, the individual shall be placed in military custody for purposes of initial interrogation and determination of status in accordance with the provisions of this Act.’”

“In other words, said Segura: ‘If at any point, anywhere in the world, a person is caught who might have done something to suggest that he or she is a terrorist or somehow supports a terrorist organization against the U.S. or its allies, that person must be imprisoned by the military.’”  

“‘For how long?’ Segura asked, finding the answer to her question in a subsection of S.3081, which stipulates suspects ‘may be detained without criminal charges and without trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.’” 

“Senator Lieberman addressed the matter of how long ‘suspects’ could be detained in a press conference, saying: ‘I know that will be–that may be–a long time, but that’s the nature of this war.’”

“Equally ominous in the opinion of many libertarians, independents, militiamen and leftists, are the 72 federally funded Fusion Centers now located around the U.S.—one in every state, plus another 22 in major urban areas.”

“Established by the DHS and the Department Of Justice (DOJ), the role of the Fusion Centers is to acquire and share (‘fuse’) information with one another, the CIA, FBI, and Military intelligence organizations, as well as with state and local police.”

“According to the DOJ:The ultimate goal of a Fusion Center is to provide a mechanism where law enforcement, public safety, and private partners can come together with a common purpose and improve the ability to safeguard our Homeland and prevent criminal activity.  A police officer, firefighter, or building inspector should not have to search for bits of information. They should know to call one particular place–the jurisdiction’s Fusion Center.’

“In September 2009, the DHS announced: ‘classified military intelligence will be made available to state and local Fusion Centers, which function as information sharing hubs between DHS and state, tribal and local officials.’”

“Since 2004 the Fusion Centers have been granted more than $575 million in federal funds, and their work is further subsidized by multiple millions of dollars state and local police receive, directly and indirectly, from the federal government.”

“Fusion Centers!, their opponents note, at a time when crime is going down.”

“Along with the ACLU, libertarians, independents and leftists have registered anger and dismay about particular individuals and activities which given Fusion Centers have  identified as ‘subversive’ or ‘threatening.’

“In July, 2008 the ACLU won a Public Information Act lawsuit against Maryland. Agents of the Maryland State Police Homeland Security Intelligence Division (HSID) had infiltrated peace groups, the American Friends Service Committee, anti-death penalty groups, an immigrant rights group, a gay-transgender advocacy organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the D.C. Statehood Green Party, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, as well as protestors against Lockheed Martin, utility rate hikes, and biological warfare experiments. Information gleaned was then shared with the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Baltimore-Washington Fusion Center.”

“The ACLU remarked the HSID bulletins: ‘would be laughable except that they come with the imprimatur of a federally backed intelligence operation, and they encourage law enforcement officers to monitor the activities of political activists and racial and religious minorities.’”

“The Missouri Information and Analysis Center (MIAC), identified militia members, anti-abortion activists, conspiracy theorists, and people who supported Congressman Ron Paul and former Senator Bob Barr in the 2008 presidential election as ‘potential threats to U.S. security.’”

“In its February 2009 report, the North Central Texas Fusion Center ‘warned law enforcement officials about the threat that comes from Americans growing more tolerant of Islamic practices like foot-baths being installed in public places, and public schools scheduling prayer breaks to accommodate Muslim students.’ The report also cautioned police ‘to be aware of the protest activities of peaceful anti-war groups like Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER)’.”  

“The Virginia Fusion Center’s 2009 Threat Assessment identified ‘subversive thought’ as ‘a marker for violent terrorism,’ and called ‘university-based student groups “radicalization nodes.”’ The VFC further ‘warned of the Muslim Brotherhood’s alleged strategy of boring from within by infiltrating different Islamic organi-zations and obtaining leadership roles,‘ and characterized the states’ black colleges as a ‘possible threat.’”

“‘A DHS analyst at the Wisconsin Fusion Center issued a report about protesters on both sides of the abortion debate,’ and the Tennessee Fusion Center included the ACLU as among the groups to be watched for ‘terrorism events and other suspicious activity’.”

“Sharing the libertarian/militia/leftist concern that the sharp move to the right occurring in the U.S. could end with large numbers of Americans being rounded up and imprisoned, in March 2009, Stewart Rhodes, a Yale Law School Graduate and former army paratrooper, founded Oath Keepers, a non-violent, non-partisan organization comprised of active members of the armed services, veterans, military reservists, Fire Fighters, Police Officers and National Guard.”

“Upon joining, Oath Keepers swear:

1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.

2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people.

3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as ‘unlawful enemy combatants’ or to subject them to a military tribunal.

4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a ‘state of emergency’ on a state.

5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.

6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.  

7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.

8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to ‘keep the peace’ or to ‘maintain control.’

9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.

10.We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

“The Oath Keepers membership is currently estimated to be about 6,000.”

(With that, Machiavelli abruptly closed the folder of notes to which he had been referring; a large folder for someone who spoke of “cutting to the chase.”  Opening a second folder, he continued:)

“Having given you an objective word-picture of the United States’ fractious national scene, I will now do the same for its international situation. Then, I’ll tie them together, making empirical sense of the government’s current practices foreign and domestic.”

“Let me begin by calling your attention to the accuracy of my predictions regarding the policies which defending the U.S. has prompted its leaders to implement in the Middle East.”

“While Herr Marx was exploring his egalitarian-Pandoran world and ruminating about an ‘allegiance to the human race,’ accepting our survival of the fittest species’ nature, in my opening statement I posited the following. I’ll quote myself at some length here:”

‘The industrial world is heading for a showdown over the Middle East’s oil and gas.’ I argued.”

‘The survival of the U.S. and maintenance of its dominant world position, requires that it gain control of Middle East oil.’ Most importantly, it must work to insure no other country, (particularly China), or group of countries, accomplishes that task.”

“Because the U.S. would be unable to compete for Iraq’s oil, I proposed, its only recourse was to use its unmatched military might to ‘seize control’ of the country; after which, to maintain its authority, I explained it would need to:”

“*’Annihilate not just Saddam but a large section of the Iraqi elite, its military officers, judges, doctors, lawyers, university presidents, engineers and chemists, who would otherwise demand a continuation of their favored situations.’”

“*‘Kill or drive from the country a few million middle class Iraqis, whose statuses it would likewise be impossible to sustain.’”

“*‘Destroy the economic, political and judicial system through which the Baathists held power, including the symbols of their authority.’”

“*‘Raze the infrastructure vital to the country’s existence: its electrical grids, telephone, water and sewage systems, its colleges and universities, rail lines and bridges.’”  

Doing the latter, I explained, ‘would help force middle class Iraqis out of the country by reducing their living standard to the bare-survival level.’”

“Once those things were accomplished, I reasoned ‘it would be necessary to break Iraq into several pieces, assigning control over each piece to that group which would be capable of defending its own authority and U.S. dominion.’”

“Finally, I stressed that while the conflict over Middle East oil and gas is principally between the U.S. and China, given the economic interdependence of those two countries, once the U.S. was victorious in the struggle it would need to consider the interests of the vanquished.  For the same reason, getting France, Germany, Japan and England to acquiesce to U.S. dominance in Iraq would make it imperative they, too, profitably acquire sufficient amounts of its oil to help keep their own economies running smoothly.”

“In other words, China and Europe would have to be cut in on the take.”

“How, then, has it all turned out?”

“Let me begin my answer to that question by quoting a November 2009 article written by retired CIA intelligence analyst Ray McGovern, which McGovern titled ‘The Bogus Success of the Surge.’”

“However, I’d like you to imagine Dick Cheney authored the article, and, that he called it: ‘The Spectacular Success of the Surge.’”

“Writing: ‘Gradually, the violence in Iraq did subside, from catastrophic to wretched,’ McGovern (Cheney) attributed this decrease partly to ‘Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr’s decision to call a unilateral cease-fire;’ to the ‘rapid targeting and killing of insurgent leaders;’ and, to ‘sophisticated biometrics and night-vision-equipped drones–with old-fashioned brutality on the ground, including on-the-spot executions of suspects.’”

“In addition, MCGovern (Cheney) continued, “other brutal factors further explain the decline in violence:’

“‘–Vicious ethnic cleansing had succeeded in separating Sunnis and Shiites to such a degree that there were fewer targets to kill. Several million Iraqis were estimated to be refugees either in neighboring countries or within their own.’”

“‘–Concrete walls built between Sunni and Shiite areas made “death-squad” raids more difficult, and “cantonized” much of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, making everyday life for Iraqis even more exhausting as they sought food or traveled to work.’”

“‘–During the “surge,” U.S. forces expanded a policy of rounding up so-called “military age males” and locking up tens of thousands in prison on the flimsiest of suspicions.’”

“‘–Awesome U.S. firepower, concentrated on Iraqi insurgents and civilian by-standers for more than five years, had slaughtered countless thousands of Iraqis and had intimidated many others to look simply to their own survival.’”

“‘–With the total Iraqi death toll estimated in the hundreds of thousands and many more Iraqis horribly maimed, the society had been deeply traumatized.  As tyrants (Cheney’s word would be victors) have learned throughout history, at some point violent repression does work.’”

“Surely, Cheney-on-truth-serum could not offer a more roseate defense of the war and the brilliantly effective tactics employed; nor could one find a better illustration of pragmatic liberal denial than McGovern’s reference to the U.S. effort  as a “bogus success.’”

“Unfortunately, McGovern lamented (Cheney would have bragged), ‘this dark side of the “successful surge” was excluded from the U.S. political debate in 2008, much as the illegality of Bush’s original invasion had been treated as a taboo subject during the early years of the Iraq War.’”

“Need I point out the ‘exclusion’ was made possible by the indispensable lies told by Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell and other members of the Bush administration?”

“Jesus’ admonition that ‘the truth will set you free’ might be valid in Pandora.  But we live in the real world, and in the real world truth often undermines the ability of leaders to protect their states and their people; a point implicit in Senator Lieberman’s assertion that Wikileaks’ disclosure of classified U.S. government truths ‘is probably the greatest act of espionage in our nation’s history.’”

As for evidence the U.S. now controls Iraq, note that the billion-dollar American embassy—the largest, most expensive embassy in the world, covering 104 acres and equal in size to the Vatican—opened on January 5th, 2009.”

“’Its scale reflects the importance of the U.S.-Iraq bilateral relationship,’ said  embassy spokeswoman Susan Ziadeh. ‘It reflects a more normal situation.’”

“Approximately 50,000 U.S. forces, and over 86,000 private contractors, remain in the country. The former are ostensibly there to ‘train and advise’ Iraqi military and police, but, like many of the private contractors, they are well armed and fully  prepared to engage in combat if called upon.”

“Four thousand, five hundred CIA-directed U.S. Special Forces are also staying in Iraq. Of them, Phyllis Bennis, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies observed: ‘using a list of people to be killed or captured’, they will ‘run around the country and kill or capture anyone whose name is on the list, regardless of the validity of the intelligence which put their names’ there.”

“While it’s not yet clear how many of the 300-plus U.S. military bases will remain, four or five of the largest ones, particularly Ali, Al Asad and Balad—each a small city in size, with modern shops, restaurants and fitness centers, each able to handle the largest planes—unquestionable will.  So, too, will four bases equipped with missile launch pads, located 20 miles from Iran’s border.

“Using American weaponry, and acting in accord with personal interest, Iraqi troops will also fight for continued U.S. hegemony.  To paraphrase the classic metaphor: They know who’s buttering their bread!  On December 7th, 2010, Iraqi Air Force Brig. Gen. Sami Al Tamimy hosted a group of Americans who were wounded in his country and appreciatively told them: “I would like to thank you for all the sacrifices you’ve made to accomplish our wishes to build a safe and secure and democratic Iraq, and we promise you, we are going to work as hard as you did to accomplish these goals . . . Without all this hard work that you have done here, we would not be here in front of you, so thank you.’”

“You will recall I argued getting Iraq to be compliant would necessitate breaking the Sunni control over the country, since Sunnis made up much of the secure middle class and virtually all of the elite.”

“By 2006 the Sunni-cleansing had been largely accomplished.  Most of Baghdad’s Sunni doctors, judges, lawyers, scientists, teachers and other professionals were either murdered or driven into exile in Jordan or Syria.”

“When Sunnis still living in Iraq responded by joining with al Qaeda to attack American forces, the U.S. pressured the Iraqi government to create Awakening Councils comprised of 65,000 young Sunni men, each of whom the U.S. paid $300 a month to switch sides.”

“In 2009 the U.S. turned responsibility for financing the Awakening Councils over to the Iraqi government and their members began having trouble getting paid; creating new and sometimes violent tensions between Sunnis and the Shia dominated government.”

“Since a unified Iraq with a strong central government would be better equipped to resist U.S. authority, so long as disruptive conflicts between Shia, Sunni, Kurds, Christians and assorted warlords don’t get out of control, they are to America’s distinct advantage.”

“Many liberals and leftists argued oil was the exclusive U.S. objective when it invaded Iraq. Retired Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff, put it bluntly: ‘Dick Cheney went to Iraq for one reason: he went to Iraq for oil.’”

“Those who held that conviction now conclude the invasion didn’t pay off as intended.  To quote Alexander Cockburn:”

“‘If this really was a “war for oil,” it scarcely went well for the United States. Run your eye down the list of contracts the Iraqi government awarded in June and December 2009. Prominent is Russia’s Lukoil, which, in partnership with Norway’s Statoil, won the rights to West Qurna Phase Two, a 12.9 billion–barrel supergiant oilfield. Other successful bidders for fixed-term contracts included Russia’s Gazprom and Malaysia’s Petronas.  So either the all-powerful US government was unable to fix the auctions to its liking, or the all-powerful US-based oil companies mostly decided the profit margins weren’t sufficiently tempting.  Either way, “the war for oil” doesn’t look in very good shape.’”

“Of course, the war against Iraq wasn’t just for the oil.  As I explained in my opening remarks, oil was the United States’ ‘paramount concern’ in starting the war, and ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Chevron executives may have found the idea of having it all for themselves appealing, but that was not the objective of U.S. political leaders. Their objective was to prevent China and/or European states from acquiring command over the Middle East’s oil, since that would give them control of the global—and therefore the U.S.—economy.”

“Because a plentiful supply of low-priced oil is a prerequisite for the survival of every industrialized nation, if one of them, including the U.S., or any small group of industrial nations, were to gain exclusive control of Mid East oil it would make catastrophic wars not likely, but certain. Chinese, Russian, French, German et al. political leaders no doubt shared the concern of their U.S. counterparts that such an eventuality might occur.”

“For that reason, Cheney, Blair and other American and British leaders undoubtedly viewed their Iraq war as peace-making: a world-war preventive.”   

“To an objectivist, President Obama’s prosecution of the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan reveals he has been applying the same–dare I say Machiavellian–awareness to the rest of Eurasia.”

“Like Cheney, Obama understands the material common sense of the thesis Zbigniew Brzezinski presented in The Grand Chessboard:

“‘America’s global primacy’, Brzezinski argued, ‘is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained . . . About 75 percent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources’.”

“Brzezinski emphasized that the U.S. objective should not be to deny other states access to Eurasia’s vital resources, but rather, to secure continuing access for itself; and, most critically, to maintain the position of moderator, determining which other nations obtain how much of the prize.”

‘The most immediate task,‘ Brzezinski reasoned, ‘is to make certain that no state or combination of states gains the capacity to expel the United States from Eurasia, or even to diminish significantly its decisive arbitration role.’”

“Economist William Engdahl has given the same explanation for the U.S. war in Afghanistan. ‘Why is the U.S. in Afghanistan at all?‘ he asked. ‘Why the 30,000 troops and private mercenaries increases?‘ His answer? The objective is to prevent cooperation between China and Russia for control of oil and gas in that region.”

“To date, the material evidence suggests Brzezinski’s ‘Grand Design’ has been more-or-less working, albeit, with a great loss of life and an enormous expenditure of money.”

“It is certainly working in Iraq. The U.S. has prevented any other major power, or combination of major powers, from taking control of that country’s oil and keeping the U.S. out.”

“When the bargaining for Iraq’s oil was over, as Cockburn observes, but doesn’t objectively explain, fifteen international corporations from thirteen countries—seven of them small states—had secured contracts.”

“BP and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), got Rumaila, Iraq’s largest oil field, with a reserve of 17.7 billion barrels (bbls);  Lukoil (Russia) and Statoil (Norway) won West Qurna, Phase 2: 12.9 bbls;  Majnoon, with a 12.6 bbls reserve, went to Royal Dutch Shell (Netherlands) and Petronas (Malaysia); Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil (U.S.) acquired West Qurna, Phase 1: 8.7 bbls; Japan’s Nippon Oil will join with Iraq’s National Drilling Company in developing the Nasiriyah oil field: 4.4. bbls.  ENI (Italy), Occidental Petroleum (U.S), and South Korea’s Korea Gas Corporation obtained the rights to Zubair oil field: 4.4 bbls.  And the Halfaya oil field’s 4.1 bbls will be tapped by CNPC and Petronas.” 

“Libertarians and leftists who contended U.S. oil corporations instigated the Iraq war ignored the fact that today only three of the world’s twenty largest oil companies are American; and two of those—ConocoPhillips and Chevron—are eighth and ninth on the list; ExxonMobil is number three. By themselves, American oil corporations couldn’t exploit Iraq’s oil even if given the opportunity.”

“The left could have made a more convincing case had it argued Oilfield Service Corporations incited the war, since seven of the ten largest are American; of which at least five, including Halliburton, are preparing to reap immense profits.

“In a February 2010 Houston Chronicle article, Monica Hatcher reported: ‘experts say U.S. oil field services companies should gain handsomely when Iraq begins ramping up production. Many of them have principal offices, headquarters or manufacturing facilities in Houston. . . .  Iraq will need technical services provided by Houston firms, as well as equipment such as wellheads, blowout preventers, pipelines, pumps, and drill bits.’” 

Turner Investment Corporation predicts Iraq’s daily oil production will increase from ‘2.5 million barrels per day to 4.2 million barrels by 2016,’ earning Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, Weatherford International, and Halliburton $40 billion in the process.  All four Oilfield Services companies are based in Texas.”

“The Oilfield Services corporations provide a wide variety of functions, including drilling, well-testing, technical support, logistics, production and enhancement.  Halliburton is contracted to drill 15 wells at Majnoon, Schlumberger to drill at West Qurna Phase1. Halliburton’s also assisting Italy’s ENI Corporation in devel-oping the Zubair field in Southern Iraq.”

“Given the great and growing importance of Eurasia’s oil and gas to Halliburton, in March 2007 David Lesar, the corporation’s CEO, announced he was moving its central office from Huston to Dubai.”

“Dick Cheney, the former head of Halliburton, and still heavily invested in that Oilfield Services company, began profiting from the Iraq war almost immediately.  The value of his Halliburton stock options soared from $241,498 in 2004 to more than $8 million in 2005; an increase of over 3,000 percent; the result of no-bid/no-audit contracts the U.S. government bestowed.”

“While Cheney-the-capitalist was undoubtedly pleased with that result, I submit Cheney-the-political-leader had more humanitarian objectives: defending his state, and preventing a global war for Middle East oil.”

“Another fundamental point ignored by libertarians and leftists is that the enormous cost of serving the world’s oil and gas needs today—the expense involved in drilling, shipping, refining, and delivery–can only be met if it’s shared.  In other words, Russian, American, Chinese, British, French, Japanese, Turkish, Malaysian, et. al. oil corporations must cooperate to survive!”

“And  cooperate they do, not just in Iraq, but all around the globe!”

“In 2006 ConocoPhillips (U.S.) purchased a 20% stake in Russia’s LUKOIL, and the two companies are working together to develop Siberia’s Yuzhno-Khylchuyu oil deposits. China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has joined with Chesapeake Energy Corporation (U.S.) to drill in Southwest Texas; CNOOC holding a one-third share in the project. In 2007 China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Chevron (U.S.) signed a 30-year contract to tap the Chuandongbei natural gas field in central China, with Chevron holding a 49% share. CNPC has a 35% share in Royal Dutch Shell Oil Corporation’s (Netherlands/Britain/U.S.) subsidiary in Syria. LUKOIL purchased Getty Petroleum Marketing (U.S.) in 2000, and its stock is traded under that name on the New York Exchange.”

“The 1,100 mile Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, which begins in Baku, Azerbaijan, passes through Tblisi, Georgia, and terminates at Ceyhan, Turkey, was built, and is owned/maintained, by a consortium of international oil corporations: Chevron, Hess and ConocoPhillips (U.S.); Itochu and Inpex (Japan); BP (United Kingdom); STATOIL (Norway; ENI (Italy); TOTAL (France); SOCAR (State Oil Corporation of Azerbaijan), and TPAO (Turkey).  Russia’s LUKOIL is currently arranging to join the consortium and will use the BTC pipeline to transport some of its own Caspian oil to market.”

“Kazakhstan’s Tengiz oilfield, at 12,000 feet the world’s deepest, is likewise a joint undertaking between LUKARCO, Russia 5%; KMG, Kazakhstan 20%; Exxon-Mobil 25%, and Chevron 50%.”

“The cooperative development of Iraq’s oil fields has already been described.”

“Then, there’s the proposed $7.5 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline for transporting natural gas from the oilfields of Southern Turk-menistan, through Afghanistan to Multan, Pakistan, and on to New Delhi.”

“Originated by Unocal Oil Company of California in the late 1990s, TAPI  became Chevron’s plan when it purchased Unocal in 2005, and will be financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which, like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, is principally under U.S. financial control and profit.”

“TAPI is the very large U.S. foot in Eurasia’s door, and it has been aggressively promoted by American leaders who have the required vision. In 2001 the Cheney-Bush Administration notified the Taliban then governing Afghanistan they must choose between ‘a carpet of gold and a carpet of bombs’ and allow TAPI to pass through their country. When they turned down a golden carpet, the U.S. drove them from power with a carpet of bombs.”

“President Obama will facilitate the herd’s remaining in denial with vague promises of pulling American troops out of Afghanistan in 2011. But the material evidence argues that to protect his nation and its people he can not and will not permit a pullout to happen.”

“Jeremy Scahill described the ever-deepening U.S. commitment in December 2009, observing: ‘There are 104,000 Department of Defense contractors in Afghanistan. According to a report from the Congressional Research Service, as a result of the coming surge of 30,000 troops, up to 56,000 additional contractors may be deployed. And there’s another group which often goes unmentioned: 3,600 State Department contractors and 14,000 USAID contractors. That means the current total U.S. force in Afghanistan is approximately 189,000 personnel (68,000 troops and 121,000 contractors.).’”

“Five months later, May 2010, Scahill predicted there would be an increase of between 31,000 and 61,000. “Within a matter of months,’ he estimated, ‘and certainly within a year, the United States will have upwards of 220,000 and 250,000 U.S. government-funded personnel occupying Afghanistan, a far cry from the 70,000 U.S. soldiers that those Americans who pay attention understand the United States has in Afghanistan.’ “

“They’re certainly not there to fight al-Qaeda, Scahill continued: ‘This is a country where the president’s national security adviser, GeneraL James Jones, said there are less than 100 al-Qaeda operatives, who have no ability to strike at the United States.’”

“Writing in September of 2010, International Herald Tribune op-ed columnist William Pfaff noted: ‘The Pentagon is constructing bases for the new arrivals /to Afghanistan/ on a giant scale with all the customary civilian appurtenances of American military life—fast food franchises, bargain-price exchanges and other amenities . . . This base construction would seem to suggest that, whatever the president’s views of where the United States stands with respect to Afghanistan and the Taliban in December, the American military is not planning to saddle up and go home.’”

“As with the BTC, protecting the U.S. will require its leader to insure TAPI is constructed/owed/operated by a consortium of international corporations; that U.S. corporations and financial institutions play predominant roles; that no world power(s) is able to deny the region’s gas to others; and, to the degree possible, that the U.S. acts as mediator.”

“To quote the Eurasia Review’s apt depiction of TAPI: ‘It is the finished product of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.  It consolidates NATO’s political and military presence in the strategic high plateau that overlooks Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan and China.  TAPI provides a perfect setting for the alliance’s future projection of military power for “crisis management” in Central Asia.’”

“TAPI makes India key where trying to prevent China from becoming the dominant power in the region and easing the U.S. from the scene is concerned. As Lawrence Wilkerson said of America’s Eurasian reality:”

“‘Our new ally is India. Everyone in the United States military knows that. Our new area of operations is the Indian Ocean. That’s where the United States Navy’s going to concentrate. Its principal ally is the Indian Navy.  And that’s not just as a counterpoint to China’s power; it is also a statement of where we believe the strategic focus of the world is right now. And that’s because of things like the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Pipeline (TAPI), for example. You know, oddly enough, our troops are laid out along, in Afghanistan, the path that the pipeline would take.’”

“Now to the conflict between the U.S. and Iran:”

“With India’s economy developing at a pace second only to China’s, its need for dependable low-cost energy grows accordingly, giving India two options: Access the natural gas of Southern Turkmenistan with TAPI, or, access the huge (9 percent of known world reserves) gas field in Iran’s South Pars via an Iran-to-Pakistan-to-India pipeline.”

“Iran has energetically promoted the latter.  In the mid-1990s Iran and Pakistan reached a ‘preliminary agreement’ to build an $8 billion Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline they euphemistically named the ‘Peace Pipe’; and in March 2010 they signed a formal accord to start work on the initial section, extending from South Pars to Pakistan’s Sindh province. At the latter juncture, Russia’s GAZPROM announced it was interested in assisting with ‘construction and management’; Iran invited China to get involved; and India, previously reluctant due to its dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir, and U.S. pro-TAPI counter-pressure, seemed ready to commit.”

“By further integrating the economies of Iran, Pakistan and India and making TAPI unnecessary, the Peace Pipe would go far toward restricting U.S. influence in Eurasia,  particularly if China participated; and Iran was pushing hard. On July 8th, 2010 Indian newsman Anjli Raval reported: ‘Iranian business leaders have arrived in India armed with jewelry boxes, saffron and optimism. . . . The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline will top the agenda as Iranian and Indian officials sit down for two days of trade talks in New Delhi.’”

“On November 6th, four months after the Peace-Pipe-promoting Iranian businessmen visited India, President Obama landed in Mumbai for three days of mutually beneficial/profitable ‘discussions’.”

“According to on the very first day of Obama’s visit, 20 business deals worth a total of $10 billion were signed between the two countries. The deals included sales of Boeing passenger aircrafts, Boeing C-17 GlobeMasters to Indian armed forces, GE 107 F414 jet engines to the Indian Air Force, GE power turbines, and the setting up of a Harley Davidson assembly plant’.”

“Obama committed the U.S. to lifting the restrictions on defense and space industry exports to India imposed in 1998 after India tested nuclear devices.  India stated its intention to spend $100 billion on new armaments over the next decade, including an order for 126 advanced jet fighters, to be placed during the next fiscal year. And Obama made it clear Lockheed Martin’s F-16, Boeing’s F/A-18s, and other weapons are available.”

“With that, India backed out of the Peace Pipe project again. On December 11th, 2010, three days after Obama departed, the presidents of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India met in Turkmenistan to sign an agreement for TAPI’s construction.”

“On February 10th, 2011 IndiaRealTime reported:‘American officials have launched a publicity blitzkrieg at the latest edition of the Aero India trade show in Bangalore. The U.S. has the largest foreign presence at the air show and is making a high-decibel pitch to sell advanced weapons systems, fighter jets and helicopters to India to capture a share of this lucrative market.’”  

“You now understand why Iran is currently the United States’ principal Eurasian opponent.  Unlike China, American corporations and financial institutions have no stake in—i.e., do not profit from—Iran’s energy production and distribution. Moreover, the investments they do have in Eurasia are menaced by Iran’s policies.”

“Besides threatening TAPI with the Peace Pipe, in January 2011 Iran signed an agreement with Syria to construct a natural gas line (the Islamic Pipeline) which would pass through, and meet the gas needs of, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, on the way (eventually) to Europe. According to Iran, when completed the ‘Islamic Pipeline’ would provide Europe with 110 million cubic meters of gas daily. In February 2011 officials from Iran, Iraq and Syria held meetings on the Islamic Pipeline in Tehran.”

“In addition, Iran already has 2 short pipelines taking natural gas from Turkmenistan to Iran. The first one Korpeje-Kordkuy, (120 miles) went on line in 1998. The second, Dovletabad-Sarahs-Hangeran (19 miles) opened in 2010. Together, the two lines carry 20 billion cubic meters of Turkmenistan’s natural gas to Iran annually; and Iran envisions linking them with the Islamic Pipeline to transport Turkmenistan’s gas to Europe.”

“Since 2001 Iran has also delivered natural gas to Turkey via the 1,601 mile Tabriz-Ankara Pipeline; and a second Iran-Turkey line, the Persian Pipeline, is at the planning stage.”

“As I’ve indicated, the U.S. is fighting back. Besides stopping (at least momentarily) India’s support for the Peace Pipe, and placing troops along the Helmand province route that TAPI will follow through Afghanistan, it has employed a variety of other tactics to counter Iran’s growing power in the region.”

“India buys 15% of its oil from Iran (350,000-400,000 barrels a day), and has paid the $12 billion-a-year bill via the Asian Clearing Union ACU).  On December 23rd, 2010, a month after Obama’s Mumbai visit, submitting to U.S. pressure, the Central Bank of India declared: ‘Indian companies which purchase Iranian oil and gas will no longer be permitted to use the ACU to send payment to Iran.‘ ‘Praveen Kumar, director of the South Asia oil and gas team,‘ explained the  bank’s decision, saying: ‘India is not left with much choice. It is as if their “big brother,” in the form of the United States, has told them not to do this.’” 

“In the summer and early fall of 2010 Iranian gas pipelines suffered a series of ‘mysterious explosions‘ which killed around 20 people and injured a greater number of others. Iran blamed the explosions occurring in Turkey on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the three within Iran itself on ‘poor maintenance.‘“ 

Iranian authorities are naturally interested in denying the U.S. is able to carry out attacks within its borders.  However, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reflected: ‘the high number of attacks on Iran’s gas pipelines . . . will inevitably raise suspicions that this is the work of professional saboteurs. The CIA, for example, is known to have a clandestine operation underway to destabilize the Iranian regime.’”

“Aware that under CIA auspices American Special Forces are operating in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, most Eurasian leaders consider the Daily Telegraph’s hypothesis convincing.”

“Given the complex web of shared economic interests that bind Israel to the U.S., and Iran’s backing of the Palestinians, Israel has needed no encouragement to support the U.S. offensive against the Peace Pipe, or the embargo of Iran. The recent discovery of large deposits of natural gas off Israel’s Mediterranean coast—gas it would like to sell Europe–has increased its enthusiasm for such policies.”

“According to the New York Times, the Stuxnet Worm that badly damaged many of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges was created and perfected by brilliant U.S. and Israeli computer programmers working at Israel’s Dimona nuclear complex.”

“But Iran isn’t about to concede in its battle with the U.S.; quite simply, because it can’t.  Iran’s population increased dramatically over the past few decades, from 27 million in 1968 to 73 million today, and to maintain economic viability it must sell ever-larger quantities of its oil and gas. To Iran’s great advantage, India and China, along with Turkey, Pakistan et al., need ever-larger amounts of both. China’s purchase of natural gas will increase by 22.6% in the next year alone, and India is close behind.”

“So, India will continue importing Iranian oil, and the $12-billion-yearly will be paid. Two months after the U.S. succeeded in stopping India from making oil payments through the ACU, it began routing them through Europisch-Iranische Handelsbank (EIH), an Iranian-owned bank based in Hamburg.”

“On its part, Iran will continue promoting the Peace Pipe. On February 8th, 2011 it announced that 90% of the pipeline within Iran has been completed. Under intense pressure from the U.S., Pakistani officials are claiming they lack the funds to work on the Pakistan portion of the pipeline. But they’re still showing interest in it, and they have consulted with Chinese banks about a loan. Finally, although their claims may be apocryphal, Iranian authorities insist Peace Pipe discussions with India are still taking place.”

“While the heads of major American energy companies, banks and defense industries have been celebrating the progress with TAPI, the interruption of Iran’s Peace Pipe effort, and recent U.S. military progress in Afghanistan, the U.S. still confronts major obstacles where remaining the decisive Eurasian authority, ergo, the dominant world power, is concerned.”

“Iran is the United States’ principal foe in the region. But as Congressman Paul Ryan, Alan Greenspan, Pamela Geller, and other Ayn Rand Objectivists I see in the audience understand, out of self-interest a nation’s closest allies sometimes behave like enemies, and its worst enemies sometimes act like friends.”

“China is a crucial ally of the United States insofar as it buoys the U.S. economy by financing its national debt, buys American products, sells Americans enormous quantities of its own, and, permits large corporations like General Motors to become major investors in Chinese manufacture. However, as a competitor for control of the Caspian Basin’s mineral wealth, China is an adversary second only to Iran.”

“In December 2009 China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) opened the 1139 mile China-Central Asia Pipeline to take natural gas from Turkmenistan, through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, to the autonomous region of Xinjiang, China. The next year CNPC doubled the pipeline’s capacity; and it’s now finishing work on a second pipeline which, if it opens in 2012 as scheduled, will transport an additional 6 billion cubic meters of gas annually from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China.”

“Russia, which obtains 70% of its export income from the sale of gas and oil, is the third formidable antagonist of the U.S. in the region. Via its Transneft Pipeline, Russia recently began selling China 15 million tons of Urals grade crude oil annually, drawn from its Western Siberia oil fields. With minimum U.S. involvement or cooperation, by 2013 China should be acquiring sufficient crude oil from Russia, and natural gas from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, to meet its needs for the foreseeable future.”

GAZPROM has partnered with France’s EDF and Italy’s ENI to begin construction of a 2,062 mile pipeline to transport Russian gas from Novorosysk to most of Europe’s smaller countries, including Bulgaria, Serbia, Austria, Italy and Greece. If completed as planned, that pipeline, too, will significantly reduce U.S. power and influence in Eurasia.”

“While the U.S. is presently struggling to prevent China and India from becoming too close, as the Asia Sentinel recently observed: ‘Despite growing geopolitical tensions between New Delhi and Beijing, India-China trade has risen sharply over the past few years, so much so that China is poised to overtake the United States as India’s leading trading partner.’”

“According to Eurasia Review: ‘Russia and China have expressed interest in participating in the TAPI pipeline, but the U.S. will ensure that doesn’t occur. Washington’s vital interest in TAPI includes having an alternative route for Central Asian gas that will bypass the Russian pipelines‘ network.’”  

“The U.S. recently discovered huge new deposits of natural gas in Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Arkansas, and is experiencing a ‘gas glut’. But given distance, and the greater cost of its gas production, the U.S. can’t compete with Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, or Russia where selling gas to China, India or Europe is concerned.”

“Finally, China and India are able to provide Eurasian gas and oil nations with all the low-priced manufactured goods the U.S. no longer produces.”

“To sum the problematic U.S. situation: where maintaining its authority in Eurasia, therefore globally, is concerned, the principal tools it has to work with are a fast-decreasing supply of money (much of it borrowed, at the very time China and India become daily more wealthy); oil and gas production and transmission expertise (which China and India are rapidly acquiring), and, force and the instruments of force!” 

As in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the U.S. is able to use satellite systems, drones and other high-tech ordnance, and send in troops armed with the latest sophisticated weapons to wreak its will.  It can also sell Eurasian states the arms needed to keep each other at bay and their own populations under control.”

“Nevertheless, despite its unparalleled weaponry, it’s unlikely the United States’ will long remain the dominant force in Eurasia.  To defend his state, Obama, or his successor, must continue the battle to provide American banks and corporations with maximum power and profitable investment in the region. But over the course of the next decade it seems all but certain that in serving their own interests China, India and Western Europe will turn the U.S. into the second or third level Eurasian, therefore world, authority, with China becoming Number One.”

“As a consequence, Obama must also work to insure that if and when his country loses its fight for dominance in Eurasia and the world, U.S. oil/gas/oilfield services corporations and financial institutions will already be so integrated with those of China and Russia that it is to the advantage of both nations to protect them, just as the U.S. is giving their interests consideration today.”

“Many libertarians are arguing the United States fomented the uprisings now sweeping North Africa and the Middle East. They could not be more mistaken.”

“The U.S. was tied to, supportive of, and made multiple billions of dollars yearly fromv arming and maintaining the despots, their pampered retinues, and brutal secret services which are threatened with being diminished or deposed.”

“Although there are religious fundamentalists among the protesters (e.g., Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood), the majority of Tunisian, Egyptian, Yemeni, Syrian, Jordanian, et. al. rebels are cellphone-packing enthusiasts for the modern, high-technology world. Insofar as they succeed in overthrowing their oppressive, dictatorial governments and take control, they are sure to push for greater industrialization/modernization of their nations’ economies, along with attendant opportunities like religious freedom and higher education.  For all the reasons I documented when discussing Iraq, the U.S. is not well-equipped to assist them, while China, Brazil, and to a lesser extent Russia, are.  As with Iran, for the foreseeable future the changes at work in these countries are most likely to increase U.S. reliance upon the Special Forces and other CIA operatives it is able to insinuate.”

“In a recent article political scientist Paul Amar described how beginning in the early 1990s, China, Russia and Brazil (very profitably) promoted the development of piecework and assembly factories in Egypt, ‘channel/ing/ an estimated $40-70 billion into Mubarak’s personal accounts’ as a reward.”

“‘If you stroll up the staircases into the large working-class apartment buildings in the margins of Cairo or the cement-block constructions of the villages,’ Amar observed, ‘you’ll see workshops full of women, making purses and shoes, and putting together toys and computer circuitboards for sale in Europe, the Middle East and the Gulf.”    

“Egypt’s long-established social order was transformed. Where the country’s lower and middle classes were formerly pacified with welfare and food subsidies, such social services were gradually removed and replaced with low-paid employment and loans.”

“‘Since economically disadvantaged applicants have no collateral to guarantee the loans,’ Amar notes, ‘payback is enforced by criminal law . . . . This means your body is your collateral /and/ the police extract pain and humiliation if you do not pay your bill.’”

“Destitute North African and Middle East lower classes, like those being exploited in Egyptian workshops, seek to ease their growing suffering, while millions of unemployed college-educated middle and upper-middle class youths want jobs.  China, Brazil and Russia can profit by accommodating them with the construction of factories to replace home workshops; factories that will be run by people of middle and upper-middle class origins, with workers from the lower class laboring for modestly higher wages; the police and military authorities no longer able to extract their present huge cuts.”

“For all the reasons I covered when discussing Iraq, it will be difficult for the U.S. to compete.”

(Machiavelli paused for more than a minute, shuffling papers and taking a drink of water, then resumed speaking, with the same confidence and conviction in his voice.)

“As promised, I’m now going to tie the national and the international together, providing you with an objective understanding of the policies Cheney/Bush—and today Obama—have implemented to hold America together. Most importantly, I’ll consider what the leader of the U.S. will be required to do in the future, and the material reasons why.”

“To date, I would rank President Obama among history’s good leaders. But to resolve the exigent problems confronting the United States it will not be sufficient for its leader to be merely good.  He, or she, must become great!  

“Unlike members of the herd, a great leader analyzes every situation with eyes unclouded by the myths, ideology and religion which keep them compliant. His sole objective, his virtue, is ‘preserving the state upon which the lives and the well-being of his people depend.’”

At the moment, it remains an open question whether Obama has the clarity, the courage, and, the capacity for evil, to meet that challenge.”

“As I’ve emphasized, and as Dr. Marx has acknowledged, though he insists ideas play a negligible role when it comes to determining history’s flow, every nation is held together by the shared perspectives of its members, and the more critical its situation, the more imperative a common consciousness becomes.”

“Where unifying his people around a common consciousness is concerned, a state’s leader might be likened to a border collie chasing recalcitrants back into the fold; except that for the leader of a state this often requires deviousness and deceit; and, just as defending their nations sometimes requires leaders to practice evil abroad, so too, there are occasions when they must practice it at home.”

“To use Brzezinski’s apt analogy, being the leader of a nation is like playing chess. The problem for the U.S. leader today is that—and I’m being generous—his arsenal has been momentarily reduced to a few pawns, a knight, a bishop and a rook.”

“To review the United States’ current economic situation:”

“Its national debt now exceeds $14 trillion, an amount equal to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).The 100% mark,’ Giordano Bruno notes, ‘is often cited as the breaking point for most countries.’”

“Forty thousand U.S. factories closed during the last decade alone. While the government claims the unemployment rate is between 9 and 9.5 percent, the actual figure is nearer 20 percent and possibly above. Three million Americans have lost their homes since the economic crisis began, another 4 to 6 million are expected to do so, and 43.2 million people, roughly 14% of the nation’s population, are receiving food stamps.”

“With their tax receipts and municipal bonds’ sales down sharply, a growing number of American states face the possibility of defaulting on their debts, as do many cities. In a recent 60-Minutes interview, noted Wall Street analyst Meredith Witney predicted that between 50 and 100 U.S. cities will default this year.”

“For the past two decades U.S. leaders have relied on three financial instruments to maintain their country’s viability: borrowing trillions of dollars, mostly from Japan, China and the Middle East oil producing states; selling vast amounts of weaponry to non-industrial and industrializing states; and, taking advantage of the fact that the dollar has long been the international unit of exchange, creating money out of thin air.”

“All three wells are beginning to run dry.”

“Japan’s highly profitable agricultural and fishing industries were devastated by the March 11th earthquake and resulting tsunami, and by radiation pouring from the destroyed Fukashima-Daiichi nuclear power plant. Its automotive and high-technology industries were also seriously disrupted.  As a result, Japan, whose own national debt has reached 200% of its GDP, will not be able to continue purchasing the usual large amount of U.S. treasury bonds.”

“Aware it’s unlikely the U.S. will ever be able to pay it back, its economy requiring ever-larger investment due to its 9-10% annual growth rate, China is also showing signs of becoming a reluctant U.S. creditor. Mike Larson reports that: ‘In 2006’, China . . . /bought/ more than 50 percent of the increase . . . in /U.S./ Treasury debt sold to the public.’ ‘But by 2008 China’s share had fallen to 22 percent’. This while ‘the U.S. government raised its public debt by a record $1.2 trillion.’  In June, 2009, China became a net seller of U.S. Treasury notes and bonds, reducing its note and bond holdings by $25 billion.’ “

“‘Will China dump the rest of its estimated $876 billion hoard of U.S. Treasuries and crash the Treasury market?’, Larson wonders, noting: ‘that would crush the value of the Treasuries they own and cost them a king’s ransom. One thing seems clear,’ he concludes: ‘One of Washington’s most dependable sources of loans to finance our out of control deficits is drying up.‘”

“As for the United States’ Middle East financiers, with the international economic crisis continuing and much of that region aflame, the oil princes are having to protect their hegemonic existences by buying off, not just stepping on, more of their middle and lower classes. Saudi Arabia has spent an additional $150 billion that way since the North African-Middle East uprisings began. So the oil states, too, are less likely to be able and willing to purchase as much of the U.S. national debt as they have in the past.”

“Then there are the arms sales which have kept millions of American workers employed. India’s recent commitments notwithstanding, the global economic crisis and Mid East uprisings will almost certainly result in a reduction. Spending tens-of-billions of dollars on U.S. weaponry every year isn’t likely to be high on the things-to-do lists of Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Syria, et. al. when their uprisings are over, not even if their militaries retain much of their authority.”

“Finally, by creating money out of thin air and providing it interest-free to American banks and corporations, the Federal Reserve has enabled them to suck funds out of other countries by placing the money in their banks at high rates of interest, and, by buying up their farms and factories. As a result, many countries, led by Brazil and Malaysia, are erecting barriers to the U.S. profit-seeking dollars.”

“Known as the BRIC nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China have also started using their own currencies, rather than the dollar, to finance trade with one another. Accor-ding to a Thanksgiving Day 2010 report by the English edition of China Daily, Russia and China have signed an agreement to do so, and China already has a similar agreement with Brazil.”

“Dr. Marx may tell you that, like pollution, the grave economic problems I’ve described and the current global recession are evidence the U.S. capitalist system of production and distribution has reached its terminal stage.”

“But Marx, Ford and others who make that assertion are, quite simply, wrong!”

“Unlike the inflexible productive-distributive systems which preceded it, capitalism has time and again gone through an ecdysis when it suffered a profound crisis. And on every occasion, including the Great Depression of the 1930s, after shedding restrictive tissues in a process the famed Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter called ‘creative destruction,’ capitalist nations have revived more energetic and enterprising than before.”

“In order to convince themselves a revolution is on the way, utopians—Marx and Ford on the Left, Chuck Baldwin, Alex Jones and others on the Libertarian Right—close their eyes to material reality.”

“Dr. Marx forgets that in all past revolutions the revolutionaries began organizing themselves around a well-defined theory long before the event: a Weltanschauung that described what needed to be changed, how it needed changing, and, who was standing in the way; i.e., a theory which precisely identified the enemy. That was true of the American and French Revolutions, as well as the so-called ‘communist’ revolutions in Russia and China.”

“What, then, is the revolutionary theory of today’s Left?”

“There isn’t any!  It doesn’t exist!” 

“Today’s Leftists have done no more than make hollow statements about what they should do. ‘We have to build that independent Left,‘ Naomi Klein told TV host Laura Flanders. ‘It has to be so strong and so radical and so militant and so powerful that it becomes irresistible.‘ ‘We don’t have structures to make the economically disposed of visible,‘ Klein grumbled, ‘We need progressive rage!‘“

“In other words, Klein was acknowledging there is no coherent Left understanding, let alone one which is revolutionary.”

“Numerous critics issue bits-and-pieces condemnations of capitalist America from the Left and the Libertarian Right, including Jeremy Scahill, Matt Taibbi, Peter Dale Scott, Alex Jones, Bishop Baldwin, Seymour Hersch, Paul Craig Roberts, Larry Flynt, Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, Governor Jesse Ventura and Michael Moore. And they occasionally suggest the need for a revolution: ‘Don’t Have the Revolution Without Me!‘, the title of Ventura’s book implores, while Baldwin exhorts: ‘We need a revolution, not a movement!’ But they haven’t begun to offer the kind of ‘How To’ analysis which has been a vital part of every revolution, and Moore’s documentary ‘Capitalism: A Love Story,‘ focuses on the very warts which Darwinian theorists like Schumpeter and Feuer consider the source of capitalism’s vibrance and originality.”

“Emphasizing that ideas always follow experience, in his long attack on Feuerbach Dr. Marx declared: ‘The existence of revolutionary ideas in a particular period presupposes the existence of a revolutionary class’. If Herr Marx abides by his own logic, he must conclude that since today’s Left isn’t presenting revolutionary ideas, there is no revolutionary class, and, there will be no revolution!’’

“Only Congressman Ron Paul on the Libertarian Right has offered a tightly reasoned analysis which has revolutionary implications.  But the stunted reception it has received is yet more evidence no revolution is impending.”

“In a clear and consistent voice Paul argues for the following:”

Closing nearly all of the United States’ 730 military bases abroad, thereby terminating its imperialist ventures. ‘Our world empire now costs us $1 trillion a year,’ Paul observes, asking: ‘How are we going to pay for it?’”

“On January 26th, 2011 Paul entered a burning condemnation of the U.S. policies which led to the First Gulf War into the Congressional Record.”

“Quoting Historian Mark Zepezauer, Paul said Saddam Hussein had been justifiably irate because Kuwait used slant-drilling equipment, purchased from National Security Council head Brent Scowcroft’s former company, to illegally pump $14 billion worth of Iraq’s oil.  ‘Slant-drilling is enough to get you shot in Texas,’ Zepezauer observed, ‘and it’s certainly enough to start a war in the Mideast.’”

“When Saddam complained about the oil theft to U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie, Paul recounted, Glaspie set him up for the invasion, saying: ‘The President has instructed me to broaden and deepen our relations with Iraq,’ To Saddam’s remark that if negotiations with Kuwait failed he intended to invade, Glaspie replied Secretary of State James Baker ‘had expressly instructed her to tell him the U.S. had no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts like the one between Kuwait and Iraq.’ Then, when Kuwait refused to discuss the matter and Iraq invaded, the U.S. rebuffed Saddam’s repeated requests for consultation and sent in tanks and troops.”

“‘If Congress and the American people had known about this green light incident 20 years ago,‘ Paul concluded, ‘they would have been a lot more reluctant to give a green light to our government to pursue the current war–a war that is ongoing and expanding to this very day.’”

“Pointing to the CIA’s pivotal role in U.S. imperialist ventures, Paul advocates eliminating that problem by abolishing the CIA. In a January 2010 speech to a Libertarian audience, he queried: ‘There’s been a coup, have you heard?  It’s the CIA coup. The CIA runs everything, they run the military. They’re the ones who are over there lobbing missiles and bombs on countries. . . . They are a government unto themselves. They’re in businesses, in drug businesses, they take out dictators. We need to take out the CIA!’” 

“Paul’s Libertarian song was previously being sung only by the Left, which started condemning the CIA for being out of control in the early 1960s.”

“A cartoon by famed political cartoonist Jules Feiffer depicted an aide to President Kennedy rushing in to the oval office to announce they had just broken the code of the North Vietnamese, who had broken the code of the Chinese, who had broken the code of the CIA, and they now knew what the CIA’s policy for the region was.”

“In a November 2009 speech at the University of Minnesota, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Seymour Hersch said of the CIA: ‘Congress has no oversight of it.  It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. They’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving.’”      

“Fourteen months later, in a January 2011 speech given at Georgetown University, Hersch observed: ‘I’ve given up being disillusioned about the CIA.  They’re trained to lie, period.  They will lie to the president, they will certainly lie to the Congress, and they will lie to the American people.  That’s all there is to it.’”

Since the 1970s, the Left has also documented the CIA’s command of global drug running: first in South East Asia and Latin America, today in Afghanistan.”

“Paul has been no less eloquent about denouncing the “War on Terror,’ the Military-Industrial Complex, and federal financing of large corporations, which he calls ‘corporatism.’

“Regarding the ‘War On Terror’, Paul argues: ‘The loss of liberty, we are assured, will be minimal, short-lived, and necessary. Many citizens believe that once the War On Terror is over, restrictions on their liberties will be reversed. But this war is undeclared and open-ended, with no precise enemy and no expressly stated final goal. Terrorism will never be eradicated completely: does this mean future presidents will assert extraordinary war powers indefinitely?’

“‘Washington provides a vivid illustration of what our future might look like. Visitors to Capitol Hill encounter police barricades, metal detectors, paramilitary officers carrying fully automatic rifles, police dogs, ID checks, and vehicle stops. The people are totally disarmed: only the police and criminals have guns. Surveillance cameras are everywhere, monitoring street activity, subway travel, parks, and federal buildings. There’s not much evidence of an open society in Washington, DC‘.“  

“Of the Homeland Security Administration, Paul observed: ‘HSA sees a belief in the Constitution as terroristic.’”

“Like Marx, Paul is unwavering in his defense of free expression, arguing people should always have the right of dissent, and never be put in prison for exercising it. Condemning the World War I imprisonment of Eugene Debs for his dissension, Paul states categorically: ‘There’s only one kind of freedom: individual liberty.’  And, like Herr Marx, he concludes: ‘Government is the enemy of liberty.’”

”Paul has also been constant in his support of the Second Amendment, proclaiming: ‘The government wants to take away people’s guns, but everything the government does it does with guns, breaking into people’s houses with guns, going after farmers in their fields with guns’.”

“To the related question: What constitutes a proper or acceptable use of force by the people?, Marx and Paul again give the same answer.”

Marx was vehemently opposed to revolutionaries using violence to gain power.”

“Of the Blanquists and Jacobins who urged that course, he wrote: ‘Their business lies precisely in trying to preempt the developing revolutionary process, drive it artificially to crisis . . . to make a revolution without the conditions of a revolution. . . /i.e., the exhaustion of the productive-distributive order/.  They are the alchemists of the revolution, and they share all the wooly-mindedness, follies, and idees fixes of the former alchemists. They throw themselves on discoveries which should work revolutionary wonders:incendiary bombs, hell-machines of magical impact . . . Always busy and pre-occupied with such absurd planning and conniving, they see no other end than the next toppling-over of the existing government.’”

“According to Herr Marx, because everyone seeks, acquires and employs political power in defense of their own social existence, having more to protect, elites invariably dominate every society politically. As a consequence, if anti-capitalist revolutionaries succeeded in taking power through violence before that productive-distributive order had been drained of viability, they would discover that to stay in power they must defend first-and-foremost the capitalist elites.  Their  alternative would be to try and carry out equalitarian practices which a capitalist system does not permit. Irrelevant to the situation, they would then be deposed, very possibly killed.”

“In a letter to the American Socialist leader Joseph Wedemeyer, Engels expressed his concern that he and Marx might unwittingly suffer such a fate, writing:”

“‘I have a presentiment that, thanks to the perplexity and flabbiness of all the others, our party will be forced into the government one fine morning to carry out ultimately the measures that are of no direct interest to us, but are in the general interests of the revolution and the specific interests of the petty bourgeoisie; on which occasion, driven by the proletarian populace, bound by our own printed declarations and plans—more or less falsely interpreted, more or less passionately put forward in the partisan struggle—we shall be constrained to undertake communist experiments and extravagant measures, the untimeliness of which we know better than anyone else. In so doing, we lose our heads—only physiquement parlant, let us hope—a reaction sets in, and until the world is able to form a historical judgment of such events, we are considered not only beasts, which wouldn’t matter, but also bete, which is much worse.’” 

“However, like the nation’s founders, like militia members, like the Oath Keepers, and, like Dr. Paul, judging by his past behavior, Marx believes people have the right to use force to defend themselves against governmental oppression.”

“Biographer Francis Wheen relates that in February 1847 Marx’s mother sent him 6,000 gold francs from his father’s legacy. Marx was then living in Brussels, where German workers were coming under increasing attacks from the Belgian government. According to Marx’s daughter Jenny: ‘When the workers decided to arm themselves /and/ Daggers, revolvers, etc., were procured, Karl willingly provided money.’”

“Respecting a liberal approach to society’s socio-economic problems, Congressman Paul’s position again mirrors that of Dr. Marx. Those of you familiar with Marx’s writing will recall his attacks had two foci: capitalism as an oppressive system, and liberals as individuals who argued for easing the suffering of the working poor by making what Marx insisted were impossible adjustments in the capitalist productive-distributive order, rather than tearing it down. “

“Without exception, when Herr Marx went after specific personalities, or specific political organizations, they were never the lords of the capitalist system or their self-protecting/self-promoting organizations. They were liberals.”

“Marx was merciless in his assaults on the people he called ‘Bourgeois Socialists,‘ who sought to humanize capitalism. While giving them credit for ‘dissecting with great acuteness the contradictions in the conditions of modern production,‘ and ‘proving incontrovertibly the disastrous effects of machinery and division of labor, the concentration of capital and land in a few hands, overproduction and crises’, Marx accused them of being ‘desirous of redressing social grievances in order to secure the continued existence of bourgeois society.‘“

“French ‘reformists’ were also among those Marx dismissed as petty-bourgeois. ‘On hearing a new French party claimed to be Marxist’, Wheen relates, Marx responded: ‘in that case “I at least, am not a Marxist.’ ‘/T/hroughout his life,’ Wheen notes, ‘Marx found it both necessary and enjoyable to denounce the false gods and posturing messiahs of the communist movement.’“ 

“Of Ludwig Feuerbach, and Left Hegelians who proposed convincing the working masses to demand a reformation of capitalism by bringing them the truth it was the source of their suffering, in the Preface to The German Ideology Marx wrote: ‘The first volume of this present publication has the aim of uncloaking these sheep, who take themselves and are taken for wolves, of showing how their bleating merely imitates in philosophic form the conceptions of the German middle class.’” 

“Herr Marx even accused Napoleon Bonaparte of suffering from the liberal-reformist/capitalism-sustaining consciousness, saying Napoleon:‘wants to make the lower classes of the people happy within the frame of bourgeois society . . . Bonaparte would like to appear as the patriarchal benefactor of all classes.  But he cannot give to one class without taking from another.’”

“Who, exactly, were these liberals Marx spent so much time and energy condemning? ‘To this section, /he wrote/ belong economists, philanthropists, humanitarians, improvers of the condition of the working class . . . hole-and-corner reformers of every imaginable kind. They desire the existing state of society minus its revolutionary and disintegrating elements. They wish for a bourgeoisie without a proletariat.’” 

“Convinced ‘It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness,‘ Dr. Marx explained the liberal’s consciousness as a product of his having a petty-bourgeois existence within developed capitalist society; interest-wise, the liberal exists between the oppressors and the oppressed, a foot in either camp, an experience which produces ideas for reforming the capitalist structure as a result.”

‘In an advanced society’, Marx told Annenkov, ‘the petty bourgeois is necessarily from his very position a socialist on the one side and an economist on the other . . . he has sympathy for the sufferings of the people. He is at once both bourgeois and man of the people. Deep down he flatters himself that he is impartial and has found the right equilibrium’.”

“Herr Marx understood he was describing most of the people who professed to agree with him, observing:‘a large section of the German Communist Party is angry with me for opposing their utopias and declamations.’  ‘Our task,’ he said, ‘must be unsparing criticism, directed even more against our self-styled friends than against our declared enemies.’”

“Marx insisted that so long as workers have to operate within the capitalist system they can only acquire more during periods when the nation’s productive output is increasing. ‘This condition is the only one favorable to the worker,‘ he argued.‘ Here competition takes place among the capitalists. The demand for workers outstrips supply.‘ (e.g., American workers for three decades after WWII).”

“For the same material reasons, Marx held, carrying out a revolutionary replacement of the capitalist order or following their country into a war of acquisition is the only way workers can maintain their social existence when the country’s productivity is decreasing. All schemes for doing it through manipulations or modifications of the system bespeak the self-protective, petty-bourgeois interests of the liberals who  design them, and will fail.”

“Here too, like Marx, but unlike liberals, Dr. Paul seems convinced of the axiom that you: ‘cannot give to one class without taking from another.’ The Democrats are only ‘pretending to redistribute wealth’ Paul exhorts. ‘Under the gravy train approach those who distribute prosper while the poor suffer.’”  

Paul contends no practical distinctions can be drawn between the Democrat and Republican parties in this regard: ‘both believe in warfare and welfare.’ The majority of legislators in both parties serve their personal interests by having the U.S. borrow trillions of dollars to prop up the crisis-ridden system, Paul urges, rather than making the fundamental changes he considers not only imperative but inevitable. ‘The federal government cannot continue to spend a trillion dollars more than it collects in revenue each year,’ he asserts, predicting: ‘The passage of Obamacare will only be repealed once the United States enters bankruptcy as a result of its exploding national deficit and runaway spending.’”

“Of course, Congressman Paul does not agree with Marx’s Pandoran remedy of razing the capitalist productive-distributive system and building a hypothetical equalitarian framework in its stead. He has his own equally utopian recommendation: return to the, largely imaginary, capitalism created by the country’s founders, remove any laws that might impede its operation, then, stand back and enjoy the wondrous results.”

“Because both men are romantic dreamers, in the end, the most important thing Marx and Paul share is their irrelevance to current events. Although neither appears to have accepted it yet, the real world has written them off.”

“As I documented in my first rebuttal, the past 170 years have conclusively established that point with respect to Herr Marx.”

“Now let me make it about Congressman Paul.”

“Dr. Paul was the central figure behind the Tea Party movement at its birth during his 2007-08 presidential campaign. Millions of formerly apolitical young men and women were drawn to his pro-freedom, anti-imperialist, anti-Military-Industrial Complex, anti-Federal-Reserve, anti-Wall-Street, anti-big-federal-government plat-form; a platform which, except for his conviction that returning to a mythical past was the way to fulfill it, sounded like it could have been written by Marx.”

“Now, IF Paul had been relevant, anti-imperialist Leftists would have rushed to his side in support.”

“But, except for Governor Jesse Ventura, and occasional encouraging comments made by Moore—both of whom are more Libertarian than Leftist—they did not!  Instead, Leftists stood idly by and watched Liberals depict the Tea Party as representing the far Right pro-imperialism, pro-Military-Industrial-Complex, pro-CIA, pro-Wall Street camp of Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, Andrew  Breitbart, Joseph Lieberman, James Woolsey, Jr., and the late Jerry Falwell.”

“Ignoring Paul’s fundamental theses, the Liberal media focused on the occasional racist posters at Tea Party meetings, and interviewed only the semi-coherent individuals they found in the crowds; people, incidentally, who many of Paul supporters suspected were CIA or Democrat Party plants.“

“With Liberal reformists intent on destroying it, with the herd majority reflexively following along, and Leftists taking no position, the Tea Party quickly came to represent everything Dr. Paul had been railing against. Within two years Dick Army, the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, and others on the extreme Right had taken it over and shoved Paul aside.”

“When that had been accomplished, the stupid racist posters and incoherent spectators mysteriously disappeared from, now markedly smaller, Tea Party crowds, adding weight to the hypothesis most were probably plants.”

“Chuck Baldwin, A.C. Kleinheider and other frustrated Party founders were left to grouse about the subversion of their organization.”

“Baldwin wrote: ‘/M/any of the Tea Parties are distancing themselves from Dr. Paul and embracing establishment players such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.  Even Newt Gingrich is being courted. Watch out, Tea Party Nation: you’re in danger of losing your soul!  Newt Gingrich is not one of you.  He is not your friend.  He is an impostor. He will destroy you just like he almost single-handedly destroyed the Conservative Revolution of 1994.’”

“In a PostPolitics article of February 7th, 2010, Kleinheider declared: ‘The Tea Party movement is dead. . . . Sarah Palin drove a stake right through its heart live last night on C-Span in front of an unsuspecting audience. . . . Palin didn’t give a Tea Party speech . . . She gave a partisan Republican address.  The Tea Party I’m familiar with was more concerned about rejecting the bailout of Wall Street while looking for ways to reinvigorate the economy of Main Street rather than looking for al-Qaeda. The Tea Party I’m familiar with seemed more concerned about restoring the Republic at home than Democracy abroad. . . Almost from start to finish, Sarah Palin outlined an agenda that either ignored or de-emphasized the issues and the spirit that the Tea Parties were founded on.’”

“Earlier, Dr. Paul himself had observed: ‘The CIA is determined to take out the original Libertarian Tea Party.’”

“If so, it certainly has the requisite resources and skill.”

As the politically informed among you are aware, the FBI and CIA specialize in subverting movements which threaten the nation’s corporate interests, using everything from black-clothed/black-masked anarchist-impersonators who overturn and burn police cars and smash store windows at protests; to paid and/or patriotic informers/instigators who join/inform-on/disrupt threatening political movements and organizations; to damaging/destroying, personal relations and political associations with false rumors, money and sex; to, as in the case of Chicago Black Panther member Fred Hampton, murder.”

“Why did the Left stand by and, hands-in-their-pockets, watch the evisceration of Dr. Paul’s Tea Party occur?  What material explanation can one provide for this otherwise perplexing turn of events?”

“Could it be the Left was never really serious when it argued for ending U.S. imperialism, dismantling the Military-Industrial Complex, disenfranchising Wall Street and disempowering the CIA?”

“It seems unlikely that’s the answer.  Many Leftists have long considered those tasks the focal point of their lives, for some, a mission.

“Were Leftists perhaps repelled by Dr. Paul’s disdain for the government’s: ‘we’ll take care of you’ philosophy?”

“Not if they’re Leftists of a Marxist stamp!  As I’ve indicated, to date no one has been more scornful of that liberal theory and practice than Herr Marx!”

“Might the Left have been disturbed by Paul’s unwavering defense of the Second Amendment?”

“Again, not if they’re on the Marxist Left. As I also noted, Marx and Paul appear to have the same position respecting the people’s use of force: Violence should only be used in self-defense.”

“Might self-proclaimed Leftists have feared that the reduction in government Paul urges would be catastrophic for the nation’s weakest, the aged and the poor?”

“I suspect that explains why many of them just sat and watched.  If so, however, it reveals they were Liberals-passing-as-Leftists all along; the kind of personalities Marx called ‘sheep in wolves clothing.‘ Herr Marx, the ultimate Leftist, has always argued that the working masses will need to be hurting badly before they come together and carry out an anti-capitalist revolution.”

“‘To become an “intolerable” power,’ Marx wrote of the capitalist system, ‘i.e. a power against which men make a revolution, it must necessarily have rendered the great mass of humanity “propertyless,” and produced, at the same time, the contradiction of an existing world of wealth and culture, both of which conditions presuppose a great increase in productive power, a high degree of its development.’”

“Having convinced himself of the paradisal notion the proletarian revolution was approaching, in The German Ideology Marx proposed: ‘Thus things have now come to such a pass, that the individuals must appropriate the existing totality of productive forces, not only to achieve self-activity, but, also, merely to safeguard their very existence.’”

“He made the same point in The Communist Manifesto, writing: ‘the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an overriding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery’.”

“When he subsequently decided there was no prospect for revolution in England in the mid 1800s, Marx argued:‘A new revolution is possible only in consequence of a new crisis.’”

“In short, so long as the capitalist system can maintain the social existence of the workers, Marx insists there will be no socialist revolution.”

“Moreover, Dr. Marx wants far more than Paul’s reduction in the size of government. He argues for government’s complete abolition, reasoning that because ‘political power is precisely the official expression of antagonism in civil society,’ upon the dismantlement of capitalism, all politics and the political state will automatically cease to exist.”

“According to Herr Marx’s theory, the capitalist government will be replaced by a relatively small body of individuals who oversee an egalitarian distribution of the nation’s produce; each of them receiving the same remuneration as everyone else, each subject to immediate recall by the people.”     

“Marx and Paul both believe people should take care of themselves. What distinguishes their perspectives is that Marx entertains the utopian conviction that doing so requires the building of a post-capitalism egalitarian productive-distributive system in which the things individuals do to take care of themselves at once take care of everyone else.  Whereas, Paul makes the no less mystical assumption that if the government just abandons its ‘well care for you‘ consciousness and dismantles associated federal programs and agencies like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Environmental Protection, all of the country’s social problems will miraculously solve themselves.”

“In case you haven’t fully appreciated the parts American Liberals and self-styled Leftists played in bringing Paul’s irrelevance about, consider what Marx (and, by extension, a genuinely Marxist Left), would be sure to say about the Obama Administration.”

‘Unless Herr Marx has undergone a political metamorphosis, we can assume he would detail the petty-bourgeois practices of Obama and his liberal supporters in the legislature, the media, and the herd majority, arguing they were defending capitalism at a time when its preservation requires the government to step ever-harder on the working class, the aged and the poor; the very people Obama and his acolytes propose to assist.”

“Marx wouldn’t do this out of pettiness or pique, but because his relativistic theory demands it.”

“Marx is wrong when he argues I don’t understand that theory. I do! I just don’t happen to agree with it.  And I’m convinced that in instances like the present it leads him to reach absurd, i.e. non-materialist/non-scientific conclusions.”

“To spell it out:”

“Marx argues all our truths are partly products of objects and events that exist‘ out there,‘ and partly products of the arbitrary/self-interested way we define, categorize, and interpret those objects and events, our personal ‘in here’.”

“In response to the Rightists who call the Obama Administration socialist, assuming his reasoning has remained consistent, Marx will tell you that designation requires discarding the dictionary definition of socialism; a definition which was not only used by him and his 19th century contemporaries–enemies as well as allies–but, until the current global crisis, was being employed by virtually everyone else.”

“Webster’s defines socialism as: ‘ownership and operation of the means of production and distribution by society or the community rather than by private individuals, with all members of society or the community sharing in the work and the produce’.”

“Marx employed that definition in The Communist Manifesto, and again in his first rebuttal, arguing that under his fantasized socialism every worker will receive the same hourly wage, contributing to the community whatever he/she is able to contribute, the operative principle being: ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his work.‘  Marx told you that following the failure of the Paris Commune he ‘modified his prediction slightly’, deciding for a brief period the highest paid in a socialist society might receive twice the income of the lowest.”

“Marx will therefore reason that when the Obama Administration uses hundreds-of-billions (now trillions) of dollars, of government (i.e., the people’s) money to finance large banks and corporations, paying their heads and their share-holders from millions to billions yearly, it practices state capitalism, not socialism. It hasn’t moved toward ownership and operation of the means of production and distribution “by society or the community,” but rather, by the capitalist government in the name of the community. And, as over-worked, underpaid or unemployed workers, forty-three million of them dependent on food stamps, will testify, they are light years away from ‘sharing in the produce’”.  

“According to Dr. Marx’s paradigm, when a capitalist state in deep economic crisis begins using the people’s money to prop up banks and corporations and maintain the hegemonic status of the elite, the question arises: Is the capitalist productive-distributive order nearing its terminal stage?, the stage at which he predicts capitalists will no longer be performing creative, job-producing, community-serving functions; but, like pampered leeches, will be bleeding-off the nation’s wealth.”

“Marx has been asking that question for a century-and-a-half, and he has always answered: Yes!” 

“Now, I’m willing to grant Marx the logical consistency of his theory. It’s quite remarkable in that regard.  The problem, to say it one more time, is his theory’s  detachment from the down-to-earth real world.”

“In the real world, the state-capitalist economies of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy came into being during the Great Depression, and both were completely dependent on government funding. But that dependency—which has waxed and waned ever since—obviously didn’t foreshadow the collapse of those countries’ capitalist systems.”

“Today China’s economy—the most state-capitalist that every existed—is enjoying a growth rate of over 9.5 percent, and, according to the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) calculations, China will overtake the U.S. and become the world’s wealthiest/most productive nation in about 5 years. Does Dr. Marx consider this a portent that China’s economy is reaching its terminal stage?”

“Marx proposes that maintaining their own social existences forces the capitalists to capitalize the globe, dragging the people of every country in as producers and consumers, and the socialist revolution will not occur before that process has been completed.  Until then, he argues, capitalists will be able to ease their countries’ periodic crises by finding and exploiting new low-priced raw materials and cheap labor in less developed nations. Only when the international pool of cheap labor has been drained will the capitalists—their numbers markedly reduced by aggressive competition with one another—find the only remaining option for preserving their hegemonic existences is to join hands and drive the workers toward starvation.”

“At that critical juncture, Marx reasons, consistent with his proposition that: ‘A new socio-economic-political consciousness is always born of problematic new experiences; ideas never lead experience, they follow,’ having ‘nothing left to lose but their chains, the ‘Workers of the World’ will discover their survival requires that they formulate, then act upon, an egalitarian consciousness. Rising up together, Marx believes the workers will then dismantle the capitalist productive-distributive order and build a classless community in its stead.”

“To quote him about the process: ‘The proletariat can only exist world historically, just as communism, its movement, can only have a “world-historical” existence.‘  ‘Empirically, communism is only possible as the act of the dominant peoples all at once or simultaneously, which presupposes the universal development of productive forces and the world intercourse bound up with them.’”

“Marx described the twilight hour of capitalism he foresees in Das Kapital, depicting the international proletariat as suffering a rapidly growing diminishment at the hands of the capitalists: the traumatic diminishment needed to organize them for their mighty revolution:”

“‘Along with the constantly diminishing number of magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolize all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this too grows the revolt of the working-class, a class always increasing in numbers, and disciplined, united, organized by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist production itself.’”

“When did Dr. Marx expect this wondrous event to occur?  He was convinced the time was near-at-hand when he sent Kapital off to the typesetter in May 1867, 144 years ago.”

“And how is his predicted international alliance of workers proceeding?”

“Today, the workers of Western Europe and the U.S. are moving sharply to the Right, not the Left. In England, France, and Germany they’re becoming racist and turning on the low-paid Moslem workers their countries brought in to exploit, but in the current crisis no longer need.  American workers are showing a similar hostility toward the large population of illegal Mexican and Central American workers the U.S. has allowed to sneak across the border, their illegality necessary to keep their wages, as well as the wages of competing American workers, low.”

“Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed Leftists of Europe and the U.S., the vast majority of them intellectuals, not workers, are dispirited and confused; the American Left so benumbed it has failed to respond to the most implicitly anti-capitalist thesis of the time: that of Congressman Ron Paul.”

“Leftists are well aware that nearly all of the self-styled ‘anarchists’ who smash store windows and burn police cars at protests are federal, state or local authorities or their hirelings. They understand that’s why the ‘anarchists’ don’t get arrested and talk about it at length after every demonstration.  But, being thoroughly inept, they never take the small step of preparing beforehand to seize, handcuff, unmask and photograph 5 or 6 rampaging ‘anarchists’ and put their pictures on YouTube.”

“A Marxist American Left would detail the mutually self-serving ties between the Obama Administration and major American banks and corporations; the financial support the former receive from the latter; the ways in which members of the Administration are helping the capitalists carry out a further expropriation of the people they purport to represent. Accusing Liberals of submissively/self-interestedly, going along, a Marxist Left would place them firmly in the capitalist camp.”  

“But America’s self-styled ‘Leftists’ have done exactly the opposite. They’ve let Right-wing critics like Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin expose ties the Obama Administration and Liberal legislators have with large banks and corporations.  Having done so, Coulter et al. then call them socialists, not capitalists, pointing to the ties as evidence that all Liberal politicians–Democrat or Republican, are Marxist-sympathizing hypocrites who drain strength from the capitalist system, using welfare programs to bribe the nation’s least productive, while voraciously suckling its breast themselves.”

“In an anti-Liberal editorial Coulter related:”

“‘The New York Times reported that individuals associated with the securities and investment industry had given $9.9 million to the Obama campaign, $7.4 million to the Hillary Clinton campaign, and only $6.9 million to the McCain campaign. . . . Employees of Lehman Bros. alone gave Obama $370,000 compared to about $117,000 to McCain. . . . According to an analysis of Federal Elections Commission records by the Center for Responsive Politics, the top three corporate employers of donors to Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Rahm Emanuel, were Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan.  Six other financial giants were in the top 30 donors to the White House Dream Team: UBS, AIG, Lehman Bros., Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse Group.’”

“On her conservative website Michelle Malkin observed: ‘The 50 wealthiest lawmakers were worth almost $1.4 billion in 2009, about $85.1 million more than 12 months earlier, according to The Hill’s annual review of lawmakers‘ financial disclosure forms. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) tops the list for the second year in a row.  His minimum net worth was $188.6 million at the end of 2009, up by more than $20 million from 2008. . . . Twenty-seven Democrats along with 23 Republicans make up the 50 richest in Congress . . . Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), with a net worth of $160.1 million, is the second-richest member of Congress . . . though his wealth declined by more than $4 million in 2009. . . . He is followed by Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), who saw her net worth leap to $152.3 million, a jump of more than $40 million from a year ago.  The rest of the top 10 are Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), McCaul Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).’” 

“If you follow Right-wing websites like American Thinker, FrontPage Magazine, Right Side News and Atlas Shrugs, and the reconstituted Tea Party’s thinking, you’re aware that the mantra ‘liberals are socialists’ has gained fairly wide acceptance; in part, I suspect, because many liberals want to believe it themselves.”

“I think I’ve said enough about the never-never-land logics of Marx on the Left and Ron Paul on the Libertarian Right. Now I’ll return to the real world and consider what Obama—or whoever might replace him—must do to maintain the integrity of the United States.”

“Whatever your political persuasion, surely you will agree that in order to solve a problem one must first describe it. If you have the courage to confront reality, you’ll also agree I’ve done that respecting this country’s situation.”

“To recap:”

“The United States is $14.2 trillion in debt. It has the largest per-capita liability any nation’s ever incurred, that debt is growing rapidly, and major creditors, the Middle East oil states, Japan and China, are preparing to bail.”

“At great expense, and a considerable loss of American lives, the U.S. is managing to hang on in Eurasia.  While it must continue that struggle, promoting and defending its corporations’ investments, over the next decade China seems certain to become the dominant power, not merely in Eurasia, but globally, and India will threaten to move into second place.”

“China’s success isn’t the result of its having a more skilled or creative work force. Many of the things it sells–from power tools, to clothing, to TVs, computers and cars, are copies of American, Japanese or West European commodities; and not just product designs, but even the brochures used to advertise them, are commonly stolen, international copyright agreements be damned.”

“No, China is out-selling the U.S. for one simple reason!  It has markedly lower labor costs. Chinese workers are paid a fraction of what American (also German, French et al.) workers earn, and they don’t have the American workers’ elaborate skein of benefits respecting unemployment, union rights, health care, and retirement.”

“Herr Marx contends the problem will be solved with an international equalitarian revolution. But his workers of the world aren’t preparing to join hands and carry out a global proletarian struggle. They’re getting ready to fight one another to defend their way of life and their interests.  And no one, including self-described Marxists, is paying the least bit of attention to Dr. Marx.”

“Congressman Paul urges the United States should pull back from the international marketplace and become a more perfect replica of what it was 200 years ago; that Americans should concentrate on taking care of themselves. But nations, like people, can’t go home again. Attempting to employ the practices sufficient for maintaining the horse-and-buggy existence of 6 million people yesterday would be suicidal for 300 million high-technology-world Americans today.  In 2011, the success or failure of every capitalist nation is dependent upon its ability to compete in the global marketplace.  China is doing better at that every day, while the U.S. is rapidly falling behind.”

“When crippling economic crises occurred in the past, conservative Republicans argued the government should adopt a laissez faire approach and the problem would resolve itself, which meant the working poor would pay.  Presenting the lie they were going to accomplish the impossible and expropriate the wealthy, Democrats took the country into wars of acquisition.“

“Today, given the depth of the current crisis, the destructiveness of modern weaponry and the thorough integration of the global economy, neither approach will work. If the U.S. government does nothing, the nation’s economy will collapse, taking everyone down with it.  On the other hand, for any major capitalist nation–China, the U.S., Germany, France or Japan–to attack another would result in its own devastation, physical as well as economic.”

“The United States has but one option: it must regain the ability to engage in successful global competition. Which means its leader will have to confront the objective reality that the only way his country can survive the crisis is to build a labor force able to compete with those of China, India and Brazil. That means a low-paid work force which no longer enjoys a coddling safety net, but must fend for itself.”

“This, quite simply, is Ayn Rand’s hero John Galt’s hour!”

“To make sure you understand, let me be precise!”

“The U.S. leader must oversee the slashing, where possible, the elimination, of existing welfare programs: food stamps, school support funds, including Pell Grants, unemployment benefits, housing assistance, Medicare and Medicaid; and, the one which will be hardest to effect, Social Security. He must get the cost of labor down precipitously by overturning laws that enable workers to bargain for increased wages and improved working conditions through unions, and he will need to facilitate the illegal immigration of poor Mexicans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, and others willing to work for minimum compensation; that, too, will help keep the wage scale low.”

“At the same time, to encourage and assist the energetic and self-focused John Galt personalities required to save the U.S. by building and operating globally competitive factories, America’s leader will need to achieve a drastic reduction in their taxes, while ensuring large banks have ample funds to loan them, and, are protected from defaults.”

“The socio-economic chemotherapy I’m prescribing will be painful for American workers and their families.  But it will have to be taken if the nation’s vitality is to be restored. If it isn’t, and if the government tries to maintain the middle-class and poor with taxes imposed on the wealthy, the economy will collapse as U.S. capitalists profitably invest their money in other countries, including China, India, Russia, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and Brazil; something many of them are already doing.  Furthermore, as the Darwinian scientists among you understand, over-the-long-run the recommended remedy will benefit workers along with everyone else.”

“As Lenin said of the Soviet Union when it found itself in a similar situation in the 1920s, it will be necessary for the U.S. to ‘take one step backward today in order to take two steps forward tomorrow.’”  

“Regarding this matter, let me quote from Herr Marx’s own first rebuttal.  Lenin, Marx noted: ‘argued that in order to industrialize the Soviet Union would need the expertise of its businessmen, engineers, metallurgists, chemists, biologists and other professionals, all of whom enjoyed a socio-economic status well above that of the average Soviet citizen.  Many of those professionals had already gone into exile in Western Europe or the United States. If the elite existence of those who remained was not protected Lenin insisted, they, too, would leave; making industrialization impossible, and socio-economic-political collapse a certainty.’”

“Now to address the million dollar question: Is President Obama up to the task?  While I’m not certain of the answer, so far he is doing astonishingly well.”

“Keep in mind that the deception required of a nation’s leader, like the denial required of the herd, is proportionate to the magnitude of the problem(s) confronted. Because ‘Tricky-Dick Nixon’ had the reputation of a zealous anti-communist, he proved to be the perfect leader for establishing rapprochement between China and the U.S. in the 1970s.”

“President Obama’s image is that of a leader who’s genuinely concerned about the unemployed, the sick, the aged and the poor, one who will defend them against Congressman Paul Ryan and other Objectivist legislators in the House and Senate, who openly argue for moving in the direction I advocate. That makes Obama well-suited for carrying out the requisite policies. He can appear to resist demands made by the Right, while giving in to them one-by-one-by-one. Glen Ford recently wrote Obama’s: ‘positively eager to dismantle the safety nets put in place in the 1930s.‘ Not many Americans will agree with Ford’s assessment, which suggests he may indeed be the right leader for the time.”

“At any rate, to date, President Obama’s talking and acting as I propose.”

“‘Everybody’s got to take a haircut!,’ he declared, as he and Congressional Liberals began joining with conservatives to protect the wealthy by removing not just hair, but several layers of skin, from the poor, the sick, the aged and the unemployed.”

“‘Everybody’s got to take a haircut!’  But each time unemployment benefits have run out the President and his Liberal House and Senate supporters have helped put through a brief extension for workers who recently lost their jobs; then, turned to other matters as a large and fast-growing number of long-term unemployed become destitute and disappear from view.”

“‘Everybody’s got to take a haircut!.’ In July 2009, the government’s watchdog agency predicted the cost of the federal bailout of large financial institutions, their executive officers and shareholders, might eventually total $24 trillion, $80,000 for every American. That figure has now been reached, richly rewarding a broad segment of the American elite, along with those of France, Germany, England and other countries.”

“‘Everybody’s got to take a haircut!‘ A September 2010, Forbes article titled: ‘The Rich get Richer,’ reported that under Obama’s watch the personal wealth of the 400 richest Americans had increased by 8 percent over the previous year.”

“‘Everybody’s got to take a haircut!’  Citing a Business Insider article, Bill Quigley related that in 2009 the top ten Hedge Fund Managers made more than ever: The highest paid got $4 billion. In descending order, the others received $3.3 billion, $2.5 billion, $2.3 billion, $1.4 billion; two managers earned $1.3 billion, another two $900 million, the least well-provided $825 million.”  

“‘Everybody’s got to take a haircut!’  While millions of middle class Americans are losing their homes, the profits of major banks, oil corporations and their share holders are soaring to new heights.”

“Everybody’s got to take a haircut! Polls were showing over 70 percent of Americans wanted a ‘single payer’ health care program. But Obama let the pharmaceutical and insurance corporations write his health plan; one which will not only protect, but greatly enrich, their executives and share holders, while providing coverage to a large number of previously uninsured people which more than 50 percent of them won’t be able to afford.  Reed Abelson began his Page One New York Times article of May 14th, 2011 with the observation: ‘The nation’s major health insurers are barreling into a third year of record profits, enriched in recent months by a lingering recessionary mind-set among Americans who are postponing or forgoing medical care.. . . The UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest commercial insurers, told analysts that so far this year, insured hospital stays actually decreased in some instances. . . . Cigna, another insurer, talked about the “low level” of medical use. . . Yet the companies continue to press for higher premiums, even though their reserve coffers are flush with profits and shareholders have been rewarded with new dividends.’

“Everybody’s got to take a haircut! ’I firmly believe in the right of workers to organize and bargain through unions.’, Obama emphasized. Then he stood aside as Liberal Republican and Democrat legislators helped conservative colleagues destroy the ability of the nation’s firemen to do so; and looked on silently as the governors of Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and other states undertook all-out assaults on the union rights of state employees.”

“Everybody’s got to take a haircut! According to the 2010 Census, the illegal immigration of competitive low-cost workers had increased by 43 percent during the previous 10 years, and Obama’s new immigration plan will do nothing to reduce the flow.”

“‘Everybody’s got to take a haircut!’  Although polls have consistently revealed more than 85% of Americans don’t want the Social Security program touched, and Obama assures them it won’t be, in a recent interview the eternally honest and innocent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, acknowledged: ‘I have to tell you, I have been on the phone to the very, very, very highest levels of the Obama Administration, and the responses I am getting are not assuring.  What I’m told is that no definitive decisions have been made on the issue of Social Security. I expect that is probably true.’”

“The details of the ‘haircut’ experienced by millions of middle and lower class Americans are well known. For many it’s been a scalping!  They’ve lost their jobs, their homes and savings, often their cars.”

“So, what kind of a haircut’ is the president proposing members of the upper class ought to take? Does he think Senators Kerry, Issa and Harman should forfeit a small portion of their wealth, perhaps 15 percent: $28,000,000, $24,000,000  and $23,000,000 respectively?  If they did, Kerry would still have over $158,000,000, Issa $136,000,000, and Harman $129,000,000. A middle class person who earned $50,000 a year and saved half of his/her income would have to work more than 5,640 years to acquire anything approximating those amounts.”

“Does the president believe senators and representatives should also have their salaries cut, maybe by the same 15 percent?”

“Has he suggested the yearly incomes of Hedge Fund managers should be limited to, say $1 billion?  The $50,000-a-year worker who saved half their wage would need to labor 40,000 years to amass that sum.”

“I suspect the majority of middle class Americans would regard all of the indicated restrictions not ‘haircuts,’ but modest trims.  Yet, Obama hasn’t made these or any other timid proposals. Although the wealth of upper class Americans is continuing to grow dramatically, practically speaking, he has done no more than suggest they ought to ‘take a haircut.’”

“To be sure, were Obama to get serious and specific the wealthy would accuse him of fomenting class warfare.  However, as most middle and lower class Americans know all too well, a class war has been raging for over two decades, and they are losing badly.”

“In other words, Obama’s ‘Everybody’s got to take a haircut!’ is subterfuge, a deception necessary for getting middle and lower class Americans to accept building the low-paid work force that’s vital if the U.S. is going to compete with China, India, Brazil and other industrializing nations; something it must do in order to survive!” 

“By now you should be aware Marx and I vehemently disagree about the impact ideas have on history’s course.”

“Dr. Marx assigns them almost none. According to his paradigm, people embrace the ideas which, if acted upon as true, will preserve their social existence with a minimum suffering of pain/the least disruption of their lives; i.e., everyone’s socio-economic-political consciousness is conservative.  In his opinion, that not only accounts for the system-preserving ideas of capitalist elites and the reformist ideas presented by members of the middle class, but the revolutionary egalitarian consciousness he predicts workers will acquire when they find it imperative to raze the capitalist productive-distributive structure in order to survive.  Marx has assigned his own ideas no greater importance, writing in a Preface to Das Kapital that he hoped the book might ‘lessen and ease the birth pangs‘ of the post-capitalist order.“

“For Marx, a Leftist who predicts a revolution’s coming is like the passenger of an ocean liner who shouts ‘Everyone get in the lifeboats, this ship is going down!‘  He will be ignored until-and-unless the ship’s engines have gone silent and waves are beginning to lap over the bow; by which time, aware of the crisis, other passengers will be issuing cries of their own.  At most, the first to do so will have ‘lessened and eased the pain‘ of achieving the requisite consciousness and abandoning the ship.”

“On my part, I consider it self-evident that if ideas were so inconsequential, leaders would never bother to lie.  If ideas were inconsequential, leaders wouldn’t dedicate so much time and energy to winnowing out and suppressing those which challenge the views/opinions their country must act upon in order to survive.”

“But lie, winnow and suppress they do, often with great sophistication. Leaders lie/winnow/suppress because they understand that a shared consciousness on subjects of great national significance is an indispensable component of a national program of action; that if the ideas about critical matters which are permitted respect in the market place become too disparate, in acting upon them people will tear the country apart, devastating everyone’s interests. To put it succinctly, leaders lie/winnow/suppress ideas in order to protect the state, and they protect the state in order to protect its people!”

“What instruments do U.S. leaders use to effect the requisite lying, winnowing and suppressing?  Everything from ridicule, to the influence with/control over the media that goes with their office, to their ability to help or hurt the political prospects of legislators who provide or withhold support; to the financial assistance they can furnish counties, cities and states; to their authority over government agencies, the military and national police, including Homeland Security, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the FBI and the CIA.”

“The major media’s coverage of gun control, Ruby Ridge, Waco, the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building, 9/11, militias, the federal bailout program, the ‘anti-terrorist’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the conflict with Iran, and the Tea Party verifies the ability of U.S. leaders to frame/restrict the national discussion and debate about consequential issues.”

“When the president, his cabinet and other leading political authorities, treat the perspectives of Randy Weaver, David Koresh, General Partin, Noam Chomsky, Paul Craig Roberts, Peter Dale Scott, Gore Vidal, militia spokesmen and Tea Party founders as unworthy of entry into the market place, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time and Newsweek fall in line and bring the herd along.”

“Noam Chomsky’s experience illustrates the power of U.S. leaders to establish limits for political thought. Chomsky is internationally recognized for his break-through work in linguistics. You’ll find him in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Newsweek, Time and other widely read periodicals have dealt with his discoveries in that field.  But although Chomsky, a Leftist, has written and lectured even more extensively and no less brilliantly about politics, a few dozen books and hundreds of articles on everything from the Vietnam War, to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he’s considered persona non grata by all the major media concerning those and related subjects.  You won’t see Rachel Maddow interviewing Chomsky on MSNBC, or Brian Williams on NBC, Katie Couric on CBS or Bill O’Reilly on Fox News, nor will you find an Op-Ed piece by Chomsky in the New York Times, which generally refuses to publish his letters-to-the-editor.”

“As I noted in my first rebuttal, Herr Marx is convinced that the shared ideas of people joined together in nations or classes always reflect–they never cause, nor can they transform–their material conditions. No matter how logical your arguments, he reasons, you won’t get people to alter their beliefs so long as those beliefs continue to express their experience:‘All forms and products of consciousness, he wrote, cannot be dissolved by mental criticism, by resolution into “self-consciousness” or transformation into “apparitions,” “spectres,” “fancies,” etc., but only by the practical overthrow of the actual social relations which gave rise to this idealistic humbug; not criticism but revolution is the driving force of history, also of religion, of philosophy and all other types of theory.’”   

“For this reason, Marx defends complete freedom of speech. According to his dialectic, if people embrace ideas you find absurd and/or reprehensible and reject your own, it tells you that the embraced ideas continue to be more representative of their material experience/interest, i.e. are for them more logical and true. Which, for Marx, simply means that by believing in and acting upon the ideas you consider absurd/reprehensible, at least for the moment, people can more effortlessly defend their Social Existence. ‘Freedom of the press, Marx argued, ‘proceeds on the presumption of anticipating world history, sensing in advance the voice of the people which alone has hitherto judged which writer was “competent,” which “incompetent.””  

“Try telling that to President Obama and the members of his Administration who ensure Chomsky’s ideas, and those of Paul Craig Roberts, Peter Dale Scott, Jeremy Scahill, Gore Vidal, et al., are not widely disseminated. For that matter, try telling it to Dr. Chomsky!

In his latest essay, ‘My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death,’ Chomsky observed that if bin Laden was responsible for the deaths of 3,000 innocent Americans, George W. Bush bore an equally great responsibility for the death of more than 100 times that number of innocent Iraqis, killed for weapons of mass destruction which didn’t exist. Chomsky went on to question how Americans might react if an Arab military contingent seized Bush, shot him in the head, and dumped his body at sea.  However, Chomsky won’t get an answer to his question, since his article can only be found on a few Leftist websites, which members of the herd majority rarely, if ever, visit.”

“Now, I submit that Chomsky’s ideas, like those of many other Leftists and Rightists, are winnowed and suppressed for one simple reason: They’re true!  And, like the truths I covered about gun control, Ruby Ridge, Waco, the Patriot Act, militias, Fusion Centers, the Oath Keepers, and the U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, they are truths which threaten the integrity of the state.  In doing so–to refer to my opening statement–such truths also threaten the fundamental objective of Americans, which is: ‘to acquire physical, emotional and psychological security, find employment, build homes, feed and clothe their children, and raise them to share the values they hold dear.’”  

 “I noted ridicule is among the instruments leaders use to keep the herd in denial by winnowing and suppressing ideas which threaten the state.  Ridicule is wielded more effectively against the Right than the Left, since the Left argues for doing things that have not yet been tried, and it’s difficult-to-impossible to demonstrate an untested plan won’t work. The Right, on the other hand, either wants to continue an existing program that’s becoming problematic, or, return to one which previously failed.”

“To give you an example:”

“From 1989 until the early 2000s, some of Rush Limbaugh’s criticisms of the Liberal government’s ‘‘Let us take care of you’ theory and practice were commonsensical truths. Limbaugh argued the billions-of-dollars spent on welfare programs were draining initiative from lower-class Americans, just as feeding a family of feral animals will inevitably work against their self-reliance, (a point with which Herr Marx will undoubtedly agree, though he’ll insist the solution is to revolutionize the structure of society and forest, enabling people and feral animals to care for themselves).”

“Congress, Limbaugh continued, was also wasting billions on pork-barrel projects which procured campaign funds for the legislators who designed them, but were of little advantage to the majority of people in their districts, and none whatsoever to the nation. So too, Limbaugh contended, the billions spent on educational programs for indigent children provided well-paid employment for members of the rapidly-growing middle and upper-middle class bureaucracy which oversaw them,  but did virtually nothing for their intended recipients.  It would be far less costly, and more in line with the stated objective, he reasoned, to give scholarships directly to poor children so they could attend quality schools.”

But, Limbaugh merged and mingled his true ideas with a huge amount of bombast, then placed the truth-bombast totality within a framework of religious myth which, while crucial for keeping the herd pacified and in denial, was, as is always the case with myth, risky for a leader to personally believe.”

“For the government of George H.W. Bush, and, initially, that of Bill Clinton, the easiest way to winnow and suppress Limbaugh’s true ideas was to ignore them, just as they did with threatening truths which came from the Left; and the major media reflexively complied. While millions of adoring ‘dittoheads’ listened to Limbaugh’s talk-radio program daily, like the two presidents, and like Liberal politicians in general, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, the New York Times and the Washington Post rarely mentioned his name.”

“Then, as the current economic crisis began making its initial appearance, during his second term Clinton started acting upon Limbaugh’s principal truths: slashing welfare funding to the bone, initiating an attack on pork-barrel spending, and reducing educational funding for the lower class. President George W. Bush, and now Obama, have gone even further with implementing the true part of the Limbaugh logic, leaving little but bombast to distinguish Rush, and making ridicule the most convenient way for the country’s leader and subservient media to deal with his declining appeal. No doubt sensing his growing irrelevance, Limbaugh has facilitated this last step by greatly increasing his bombast production, using insult to fill the hole left when the government appropriates one of his ideas. You’ll now see video-clips of Limbaugh on Lawrence O’Donnell’s, Ed Schultz’ and Rachel Maddow’s evening MSNBC shows, bouncing up and down, looking foolish, and spewing nonsense.”

“Ron Paul is presently receiving the same ignore-or-ridicule-him treatment. Being a popular Congressman, a Tea Party founder and a presidential aspirant, Paul’s occasionally a guest on Fox News, CNN or MSNBC.  However, the shows’ hosts studiously avoid asking him about such things as eliminating U.S. military bases, the CIA, the Patriot Act, the pro-imperialism/pro-military-industrial-complex Right’s subversion of the Tea Party, militias, Fusion Centers, the Second Amendment, the Homeland Security Administration or government suppression of free speech. If Paul begins to address one of the taboo subjects, they quickly redirect the conversation, usually to his opposition to a Liberal Safety Net, finding it easy to show that his incompletely-thought-out position on that issue is ridiculous.” 

“Today, as the treatment of Chomsky, Roberts, Ventura, Paul, Baldwin, Scott et al. reveals, to hold his state together has required the U.S. leader to lop off both ends of the true political continuum, until MSNBC appears to represent the Left, and Fox News the Right.  He knows his cutting is sufficient when Jon Stewart examines the reconstituted extremes and declares, as he did when interviewed by Rachel Maddow, that ‘the left-right narrative distinction is overblown;’ that the gap dividing Left and right is actually so insignificant the media should employ a ‘corruption vs. non-corruption dichotomy instead’, enabling Fox News and MSNBC pundits to stop insulting one another and engage in meaningful discussions.”

“Neither the true Left nor the true Right are happy with the idea amputations, of course.  Leftists complain they have no real access to the public via MSNBC, and Bishop Baldwin has registered the same criticism of Fox News for excluding representatives of the Libertarian Right: ‘Ask yourself why Fox News never (or hardly ever) invites non-establishment patriots to appear on their network’, Baldwin queries. ‘Why do you not see former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts on Fox News? Why do you not see former Georgia Congressman and Presidential candidate Bob Barr on Fox News? Why do you not see former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura on Fox News?‘“

“The answer, as I’ve indicated, is that under the present circumstances, to protect his nation and his people the leader can not permit it.”

“In concluding my brief rebuttal I’ll consider an issue of growing concern to many Americans and an obsession with Chris Hedges and some Libertarians: the possibility the U.S. will become a fascist state.”

(The word “concluding” brought an audible sigh (of relief?) from the audience, and Vice President Biden popped awake.  Machiavelli continued:)

“Let me begin by stating the obvious:”

“The demand for total conformity which existed in Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and Stalin’s Russia; the rounding-up and incarceration of millions of people for who they were or what they said; the German concentration camps, and the Russian Gulag, in which semi-starved prisoners worked 12-16 hour days as slave labor; the brutal beatings, torture, and death administered for disobeying whimsical orders, are something the majority of Americans can’t conceive of happening here.”

“Like the herd in every country, most Americans resist the idea their government would ever declare war on its people. They understand Russian, German and Italian governments have done so, also governments of China, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Uganda and Rwanda.”

“But a government of the born-in-freedom United States?”

“Americans who are familiar with European history know that when Calvinist Protestants threatened the integrity of Catholic France in the mid-16th century, the government used the utmost violence against many of its citizens, an incident Marx referred to in his opening statement.”

“Called Huguenots, the first French Calvinist community was established in 1546.  Only fifteen years later there were already 2,150 Huguenot churches in the country, and some Huguenots had even acquired provincial and national offices, including Gaspard de Coligny, the Admiral of France.”

“However, in province after province the Calvinists posed a growing challenge to the political authority of the Catholic Church, and to the nobility the Church empowered; and the latter were responding.”

“Historian James A. Wylie recounts that on March 1st, 1562 the 2nd Duke de Guise had his troops attack 1,200 unarmed Huguenots who were holding a sermon in a barn in the little town of Vassy.”

“‘Entering the town, /the Duke/ met the provost, the prior, and the curate in the marketplace, who entreated him to go to the spot where the Protestants were assembled. . . . The congregation were suddenly startled by persons outside throwing stones at the windows, and shouting out, ‘Heretics! Rebels! Dogs!’ Presently the discharge of firearms told them they were surrounded by armed men.  The Protestants endeavored to close the door, but were unable from the crowd of soldiers pressing in, with oaths and shouts of ‘Kill! Kill! . . . Many of the congregation attempted to break through the roof, but they were shot down as they climbed up on the rafters.” When the shooting stopped, “from sixty to eighty persons had been killed, and 250 of them wounded . . . many of them mortally.’”

“As word of the Vassy Massacre spread throughout France, Wylie relates, Huguenots began to arm, and during the next 6 months, new and more extensive bloodbaths occurred.“

“At Tours 300 Protestants were shut up in their church, where they were kept three days without food, and then brought out, tied two and two, led to the river’s bank and butchered like sheep.  Children were sold for a crown apiece.  The President of Tours was tied to two willow trees and disembowelled alive. . . . Huguenots took refuge in the Capitol of Toulouse, where they were besieged, and finally compelled to surrender. Then followed a revolting massacre of from 3,000 to 4,000 Protestants. The Seine, the Loire, and the Garonne were dyed with Protestant blood, and ghastly corpses, borne on the bosom of the stream, startled the dwellers in distant cities and castles.’”

“Despite mounting conflict in the countryside, for the next decade the government tried to establish a Catholic-Protestant accord. But by the fall of 1572 it was obvious that would not be possible, and, that unless drastic steps were taken, the state of France was going to be torn apart.”

“Pressured by his councillors, and by his mother, Catherine de Medici, the insightful power behind the throne, King Charles IX acted.  On August 24th the 3rd Duke de Guise ordered his forces into Paris. Soldiers forcibly entered the apartment of Admiral Coligny, who Catherine liked personally, pulled him from his bed, stabbed him and tossed his body out of a window to the street.”

“With that, the battle against Huguenots turned into a national massacre.  Over the next month-and-a-half several thousand Parisian Huguenots were murdered and the killing swept the entire country. When it ended on Oct. 3rd, 50,000 Huguenots had lost their lives.  I.e., about the same number of Calvinist Protestants were killed in 6 weeks of slaughter as Americans during 10 years of the Vietnam War; and that in a country whose population of approximately twenty million was but a fraction of the United States’ during the 1960s and 70s.”

“To give you a more recent example:”

“When WWII ended, England was broke. What had been its most profitable assets in India had lost most of their value, the Indian economy was in crisis, and British authority was being resisted by a non-violent protest movement directed by Mahatma Gandhi. Taking the inevitable, and the least costly path, in 1947 England gave India independence.”

“When India’s economic crisis continued to worsen, Hindus and Moslems began struggling against one another.  Pushing Gandhi aside as irrelevant to the altered situation, the Hindu government then defended the newborn state’s integrity by overseeing a slaughter of Moslems. Children were murdered in their classrooms, adults in their Mosques; and Moslems used equally brutal tactics in fighting back.”

“Outnumbered and outgunned, the majority of Moslems were driven north into what became the states of East and West Pakistan; the latter later renamed Bangladesh.”

“In books and periodicals and on websites, Liberal Americans reveal they’re aware that the Cheney-Bush government oversaw the killing of several hundred thousand innocent Iraqis. Many have acknowledged that when President Obama doubled the number of drone strikes in Pakistan in 2010 more innocent people died; around 1,960, according to the Pakistani papers Dawn and News, most of them old people, women and children.  The Liberal New York Times recently reported that under U.S. auspices NATO bombed the home of Muammar el-Quaddafi’s son Saif, killing him and his three children, ages 6 months to 9 years; while the sleep of warm-family-man Obama is said to remain undisturbed.”

“Yet, for most Americans, the idea that President Obama, or any other U.S. leader, might someday declare a large number of the country’s citizens enemies and order the military to go after them still seems impossible to accept.”

“Remind them that Americans killed 600,000 of their own during the Civil War, two percent of the population, and imprisoned several hundred thousand more in concentration camps, where thousands died of starvation, and others often survived by eating cats, mice, rats and the morsels of food which merciful ‘enemies’ threw over the fences, and they will tell you that was the mid-19th century.  It could never happen today.”

“But could it?”

“Under the right circumstances: Of course it could!”

“Situations, conditions and environments change over time. Human nature does not! 

“The relevant question isn’t:‘Could America become a fascist state?,’ but, Will it?”

More precisely: Are the conditions which produced fascism in other countries coming into existence in the U.S.?  IF they are, and IF they reach fruition: Will the government have the ability and the determination to respond with fascistic brutality and oppression? 

“I submit an objective scientist must answer both questions Yes!”

“The most critical antecedent to fascism is the collapse of a nation’s economy, and at the moment the U.S. economy is lurching toward collapse.”

“Wall Street’s financial wizards have been able to prevent it from happening only by using derivatives and other Ponzi schemes; prompting Goldman Sachs’ CEO Lloyd Blankfein to eulogize their criminal operations with the observation his firm is: ‘Doing God’s work!’” 

“Directed and protected by the CIA, the illicit drug industry is also critical for keeping the U.S.’, as well as other western economies from going under.  In January 2009, Antonio Maria Cost, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) told a reporter from the Austrian weekly Profil that during 2008 “drug money often became the only available capital when the crisis spiraled out of control”.

“Afghanistan, which produces more than 95 percent of the world’s opium, is vital in that regard.  William Engdahl noted: ‘According to Afghan sources, Karzai is the Opium ‘Godfather’ of Afghanistan. There is apparently no accident that he was and is today still Washington’s preferred man in Kabul.’”

“Craig Murray, Britain’s former Ambassador to Uzbekistan observed: ‘One thing that really makes me sick is a constant linking in the media to the opium trade, the heroin trade, and the Taliban.  Less than 10 percent of the heroin exported from Afghanistan is exported by Taliban-friendly people. Well over 50 percent is controlled directly by actual members of the Karzai government, including Karzai himself and his brother.  The biggest heroin dealer of all is probably General Dostum, who has just been brought back and who many in the Pentagon think should be empowered because of his fighting reputation. . . . In 2001, the Taliban had cut the heroin harvest down to virtually nil.  Last year it increased by 40 percent on top of a 60 percent increase the year before. And nowadays they don’t even export opium anymore. . . . They’ve got into value-added.  It’s all made into heroin before it’s exported now, and we know where: Dostum’s heroin factories. It’s done on an industrial scale.  Petrochemical tankers carrying the chemical precursors are sharing the same road as our troops.  But it’s done by the government we are protecting.’”

“While they offer no material evidence, some Liberals assure themselves the U.S. economic crisis has eased. On April 5th, 2011, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor and Publisher of The Nation, said the economy was ‘improving;’ and Reuters reported the National Bureau of Economic Research had found ‘The recession ended in June 2009, making it the longest downturn since World War II.” 

“However, Michel Chossudovsky, Bob Chapman, Michael Hudson, Gerald Celente, Mike Whitney, and other prognosticators who have a reputation for accurate analyses and forecasts, argue the crisis not only hasn’t been resolved, it will soon become much worse.”

“A noted economist, Chossudovsky writes that while President Obama’s budget plan ‘has the appearance of an expansionary program, a demand-oriented “Second New Deal” . . . in actuality, what we are dealing with is the most drastic curtailment in public spending in American history, leading to social havoc and the potential impoverishment of millions of people.’”

“Chossudovsky identifies ‘welfare, Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits,’ as among the things to be ‘slashed.’  In short, he describes the Obama Plan as the very kind of low-cost-labor-creating program I’ve argued the U.S. must adopt to remain a viable state.”

“Michael Hudson, a University of Missouri Economics Professor and former Wall Street analyst, observes that because American dollars are the international currency, the central banks of most countries, including Japan, China, and oil states, have had to purchase U.S. Treasury bonds and bills with the dollars their exporters exchange for domestic currency, that doing so ‘is built into the global financial system.‘ The United States then uses their money for ‘financing an enormous, hostile military build-up to encircle the major dollar-recyclers: China, Japan and Arab OPEC oil producers.’” 

In addition, Hudson relates, U.S. corporations have been aggressively buying large Asian and European companies and ‘privatized public enterprises,’ then, purchasing U.S. Treasuries with the profits those firms produce. That money, too, is used ‘to build enormous military bases to encircle the rest of the world, install radar systems, guided missile systems and other forms of military coercion.’ . . . The more “capital out-flows” U.S. investors spend to buy up foreign economies’ most profitable sectors,  . . . the more funds end up in foreign central banks to support America’s global military build-up.’ At the same time, foreign companies are denied ‘reciprocal rights to buy U.S. companies.’” 

“However, Hudson writes, the besieged countries have begun to retaliate. In 2007 China and Russia established the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO); the first to circumvent controlling dollars, the second to counter the growing U.S. military threat. In addition to acquiring ‘observer status’ in the SCO, Iran has made military agreements with both Russia and China.  Five former Soviet Republics, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have joined the CSTO, which Russia is pushing to militarize.  As noted earlier, along with China and Russia, Brazil, Malaysia and other countries are beginning to use their own currencies to finance their trade, rather than American dollars.”

“Hudson refers to the present U.S.-dominated global economy as ‘The financial end time.’”

“Gerald Celente, who founded and directs the Trends Research Institute, has an admirable record when it comes to political-economic forecast.  He predicted the 1987 stock market crash, the breakup of the U.S.S.R., the bursting of the dot-com bubble, the 2001 recession and the disintegration of the real estate market. For the past several years Celente has been arguing the U.S. economy will collapse with devastating consequences, massive unemployment and widespread violence, ending in a ‘Second American Revolution.’” 

“While Celente’s prediction has been attacked by many Liberals, it has been attacked mostly with insult, rather than argument or evidence.”

“Even Liberals who wax optimistic about the U.S. economy often present facts and figures which seem to counter their conclusions. On May 18, 2011, Fareed Zakaria, a popular pundit who’s had several discussions with Obama at the President’s request, reported that Obama’s program calls for the creation of 20 million jobs over the next decade, though only 1.7 million jobs were created during the past ten years.”

“As the media continually remind us, today most new jobs are low-paid and in the service industry: security guard, cleaning hotel rooms, or frying hamburgers at Mc-Donalds or Burger King.  Zacharia provided no insight whatsoever into the kind of jobs Obama envisions, nor, how they are to be ‘created’.”

“Writing on August 11th, 2010 Robert Reich, President Clinton’s Secretary of Labor, observed: ‘America’s biggest–and only major–jobs program is the U.S. military.  Over 1,400,000 Americans are now on active duty; another 833,000 are in the reserves, many full time.  Another 1,600,000 Americans work in companies that supply the military with everything from weapons to utensils.  I’m not even including all the foreign contractors employing non-U.S. citizens . . . . The Commerce Department reported Monday the only major metro areas where both net earnings and personal incomes rose last year were San Antonia, Texas, Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Washington D.C–because all three have high concentrations of military and federal jobs.’”     

“Pam Martens, who worked on Wall Street for 21 years and understands how the U.S. economy functions, has noted: As the number of jobs across the nation dwindles, more Americans are joining the military, lured by a steady paycheck, benefits and training.’”

“Factor in the  854,000 ‘Top Secret’ jobs Dana Priest and William Arkin reported, the workers making a dozen or so new crowd control instruments, the large and growing number of prison and private security guards, and the picture becomes disturbingly clear.”

“With American manufacturing outsourced and the economy held together with Ponzi schemes, drug-running and military spending, with all three of those shaky income sources increasingly threatened, and the government having to devastate the middle class to build a globally competitive workforce comprised of millions of low-paid workers, to quote Chris Hedges: ‘The next catastrophic attack, or the next economic melt-down could be America’s Reichstag fire!’”    

“If it is, what would America’s response to that Reichstag fire entail?  Gore Vidal told the Times of London: ‘The U.S. is headed for a military dictatorship because nobody else can hold everything together!’”

“Herr Marx talks a language of lawful predictability. I don’t!  Unlike biology and physics, the socio-economic-political world is governed by possibility and probability rather than certainty.”     

“That said, I consider it highly probable Hedges and Vidal are correct.”

“If the economy breaks, and the tens-of-millions of unemployed, homeless and hungry Americans Celente foresees begin disruptively protesting in the street, the police and the military will begin by using a variety of crowd control weapons: Tear Gas, Pepper Spray and Mace (tear gas shells fired at close range have killed many protesters); Rubber Bullets (which have also killed at close range); Rad-X Long-Range Acoustical Devices which cause excruciating pain and can break eardrums; Raytheon’s Assault Intervention Device, and other microwave weapons that burn the skin and can damage eyes, even cause blindness.”

“If the protesters then turn to violence, a recent U.S. Army War College Strategic Institute study spelled out what they can expect, saying: ‘Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.’  The Army War College very pointedly stated a ‘strategic shock’ might require the government to employ ‘military force against hostile groups inside the United States.’”

 “It’s clear what the War College means when it speaks of ‘defending basic domestic order and human security against hostile groups.’ It means using violence to protect capitalist corporations, businesses, banks and political institutions, from whatever number of Americans pose a threat to their existence.”

“In an article titled: ‘The Intensive Quiet Preparation for Martial Law,’ University of California (Berkeley), Professor Peter Dale Scott relates: ‘In late September 2008, at the height of the financial meltdown, The Army Times announced the redeployment of an active Brigade Army Team from Iraq to America, in a new mission that “may become a permanent part of the active Army.” The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys. Now they’re training for the same mission–with a twist–at home.’”

“What if militias and Oath Keepers go to the people’s defense?

“They will be massacred!

“Their numbers and fire power would present no more than an adrenalin-producing challenge to the military, which would gun down Americans labelled ‘terrorists‘ with the same righteous  enthusiasm it’s felt when killing members of al Qaeda and the Taliban, or that police experience when going after common criminals. That’s how it was done in Nazi Germany and Stalin’s U.S.S.R., and that’s how it would be done here.”

“Don’t forget that the FBI, BATF, the CIA and state and national intelligence organizations have infiltrated most militias and will be well apprised of their plans. The FBI and BATF go to great lengths in that regard, even financing rural gun shops to acquire information.”

“The FBI and BATF are rumored to have infiltrated the Oath Keepers, and nine months after Stewart Rhodes founded his organization a group calling itself ’The Real Oath Keepers’ suddenly appeared with a 147 page pro-violence, anti-semitic screed it calls a ‘Training Manual’, the objective of which couldn’t be more apparent: make Rhodes Oath Keepers appear violent and anti-semitic.”

“Are the BATF and/or the FBI behind The Real Oath Keepers?   I’ll leave that up to you.”

“One can assume the FBI and BATF are also watching/infiltrating/manipulating the relatively new, loose-knit organization called ‘Sovereign Citizens.’” 

“At the moment, where the possibility of fascism coming to the U.S. is concerned, most Americans, with Liberals in the lead, are keeping their eyes tightly closed to avoid seeing the signs I’ve enumerated: The Patriot Act destruction of The Bill of Rights; Fusion Centers; Campus Spy Schools; unannounced and illegal raids on the homes of peaceful protestors; wiretaps without court orders; the use of indefinite detention and torture; airport pat-downs and back-screen body-scanners; VIPER Teams and telescreens; the dishonest portrayal of Militias and Oath Keepers as racist, anti-semitic and violent; the overthrow of Posse Comitatus; the Defense Department’s definition of peaceful protest as ‘terrorism’; the Army and Air Corp regarding the internet as an ‘enemy weapon’s system’; the stripping of citizenship from native born Americans—i.e., turning a birthright into a government-bestowed privilege; the FBI training of tattoo artists and garbage collectors to spy on other Americans; the McCain-Lieberman Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act; the denial of lawyers and other constitutionally ‘guaranteed’ legal rights to individuals who are opportunistically accused of terrorism; the focus on disarming the public by a government insanely armed; the Rightward shift on university campuses; the repeated Nazi-like references to ‘Our Homeland’.” 

“And if it happens, if the U.S. does become a fascist state, what will the majority of Americans do?”

“Liberals?  I think Hedges is probably right there, too.”

“Liberals, he wrote: ‘want to inhabit a political center to remain morally and politically disengaged.  As long as there is a phantom Left, one that is as ridiculous and stunted as the Right wing, the liberal class can remain uncommitted. If the liberal class concedes that power has been wrested from us it will be forced, if it wants to act, to build movements outside the political system. This would require the liberal class to demand acts of resistance, including civil disobedience, to attempt to salvage what is left of our anemic democratic state.’” 

“To put it less delicately than Hedges does: IF fascism comes to America the majority of Liberals will undoubtedly continue sleeping, their heads tucked securely up their butts.  Some will throw up their hands, declare the world’s gone mad, and occupy themselves with family matters.  Others will reason a sane person does not try to stop an earthquake, he tries to minimize its damage: Ergo, sane Americans should not attempt to stop the onrushing dark night of brutal oppression, but preserve a glimmer of light for the majority by secretly maintaining an enlightened-Liberal/anti-fascist consciousness.  In brief, they, too, will go along.”

“The ACLU, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), National Public Radio, the Humanitarian Law Project, InfoWars, AlterNet, Democracy Now and other Liberal groups/organizations/websites and publications, will either reorient or be disbanded .”

“Conservatives?  Many now seem to be preparing for fascism, just in case.”

“In 2004, the Committee On The Present Danger, founded in 1950 to present the state-preserving lie that the Soviet Union constituted an ‘evil communist threat’, was revived to defend the equally absurd, but equally indispensable, Orwellian idea that the U.S. is currently engaged in a global ‘war on terror.’”

“Dr. Marx insists everyone genuinely believes the ideas which best defend their Social Existence, that such concepts are their truths.  While I agree the herd behaves that way, I give political leaders credit for more intelligence and sophistication.  Surely, Senators Jon Kyl and Joe Lieberman, former CIA director James Woolsey Jr., and other Committee On The Present Danger members are aware there’s no material evidence for their ‘war against terrorism’ proposition.  However, I believe they also understand the criticality of that lie for maintaining the integrity of their country.”

“Senators Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss appear psychologically girded to embrace a fascist state.”

“In October 2009, the Libertarian newspaper American Free Press reported the two men had declared: ‘the U.S. military should not only bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, but should launch an “all-or-nothing” war against the Persian country with the goal of obliterating it. . . . “If we use military action against Iran, we should not only go after their nuclear facilities,” Graham said. “We should destroy their ability to make conventional war. They should have no planes that can fly and no ships that can float.’  ‘Lindsey’s right,’ added  Chambliss, ‘It’s an all or nothing deal . . . A full-out military strike is what it would take.’“ 

“Judging by his comments, if fascism comes to America former Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle will also sign on. Reporter John Pilger notes Perle has depicted the U.S. ‘War On Terror’ as having ‘no stages’. ‘This is total war!,’ he said. ‘We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there.  All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq . . . this is entirely the wrong way to go about it.  If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war . . . our children will sing great songs about us years from now.’”

“Seymour Hersch has described leaders of the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) as fascism-ready.  In his Georgetown University speech Hersch related General Stanley McChrystal, who headed JSOC before becoming the top commander in Afghanistan, Vice Admiral William McRaven, who succeeded McChrystal as head of JSOC, and other senior commissioned officers, ‘are all members of, or at least supporters of, the Knights of Malta. . . . many are members of Opus Dei . . . They see themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They’re protecting them from the Muslims as in the 13th Century . They have little insignias, these coins they pass among each other, which are crusader coins. . . . insignia that reflect the whole notion that this is a culture war.’”   

“The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which frequently assists CIA, FBI and BATF operations, seems prepared to get aboard a fascist train.  In a 2010 report it included the Oath Keepers and the Constitution Party on its lengthy list of ‘hate groups;’ both of which preach a defense of freedom and the Constitution, not hate.”

“IF fascism comes to America, one need not be a Nostradamus to adumbrate the lie that will be used for its justification.”

“An economic collapse of the magnitude Chossudovsky, Hudson, Celente et al. envision would move millions of Americans radically Right or radically Left in their attempt to save themselves, joining Ron Paul and/or Marx in demanding an immediate end to the costly U.S. imperialist empire and the weapons manufacturing/Special Forces/mercenary/intelligence gathering, etc. industries used to maintain it.”

“Because those industries continue to provide sustenance for a majority of Americans, valued promotions for military officers, and tens-of-billions-of-dollars in profit for a large swathe of the U.S. elite, if millions of Americans begin rioting against the government that funds them, the curtain will come down.”

“The leader, in all likelihood a military man if Obama’s compassionate side weakens his resolve, will throw the protesters into the ‘terrorist‘ camp and they will be treated accordingly.”

“Loud voiced internet and media conservatives have already begun to sound hopeful about such an eventuality.”

“In an article recently posted on American Thinker, J.R. Dunn argued: ‘The time to open the second front is coming. . . . Consider how many times since the Vietnam War this country’s left has involved itself in activities that in saner epochs would have resulted in lengthy jail sentences. Support for the Sandinistas and the Salvadoran FMLN, the Nuclear Freeze movement (a KGB operation from start to finish), cooperation with Palestinian and related terrorist groups. In each case, the left continued its involvement until the bitter end; and in each case skipped off with no consequences.  . . . There is only one way this will end: people are going to die. Americans will be killed in large numbers and under the most horrifying circumstances in attacks that could very likely have been prevented. And when this occurs — as it must — what will the left do? The same as they did after 9/11. Grab a kid-size American flag from somebody else’s hand and stand waving it frantically until the moment of potential retribution is safely past. . . . So how do we respond? . . . We yank drunk drivers out of cars; we must also yank leftists out of the public sphere.  The second step is to identify them. Call them out by name, relentlessly and repeatedly. . . . The third step is to target them, isolate them and render them harmless. . . . We cannot allow ourselves to be backed down by thugs such as these.  To paraphrase Boccaccio: any tactic against such would-be tyrants is legitimate. There is a difference between dissent and desertion, criticism and undermining. That difference has been lost amid a fog of relativism in the past few decades. But behind that fog, the hard stone of reality remains. It’s no longer a game. People are going to die because of the actions taken by this country’s leftists. Recognizing those differences has become a matter of life and death.  . . . The terror conflict is a two-front war. It always has been, as reluctant as we have been to admit it. The time to open the second front is coming.’”

“FOX News pundit Glenn Beck reasons Leftist-communist members of the Obama Administration have joined forces with Muslim terrorists. Objectively, that’s a mad proposition. But it’s no more insane than the Hitlerian lie that Germany’s enemies were Capitalist-Communist-Jews; and a herd will follow the most preposterous theory if it’s vital for holding the state together.”

“Parroting Beck’s logic that the ‘terrorist’ enemies of the U.S. include ‘communists’ as well as Muslims, Randall Hoven, another American Thinker author, exhorts: ‘Some of you might be thinking it a bit retro to call someone a communist.  I am very aware that we cannot read what is written in the heart of another man.  But when a person is a member of the Communist Party, calls himself a communist, and justifies his arguments based on the teachings of Marx and Lenin, I think it safe to call him a communist.” (Following Hoven’s idealist logic, of course, the Borgias and Hitler were ‘Christians’.)

“David Horowitz, who gained notoriety as a Stalinist-Leftist in the 1960s and 70s, has moved his fascist sensibilities to the other side and now speaks of Leftwing Monsters.’”

“Citing Fritz Stern’s thesis that: ‘In Germany there was a yearning for fascism before fascism was invented,’ Chris Hedges contends today a large and growing number of Americans share that yearning.”

“Large banks and corporations would go along with fascism enthusiastically if millions of unemployed and hungry people were demanding their expropriation. Corporate profits are now greater than before the economic crisis began, reaching $1.7 trillion for the fourth quarter of 2010; and their executives are being richly rewarded; thanks in part to federal loans, which are really federal gifts, since they have been paying back the initial loans with money borrowed from the Federal Reserve at interest rates near zero.”

“IF fascism comes to America, it will be directed by Objectivists who comprehend our species nature.  I believe they will remind themselves of something Ron Paul and Marx forget: When a dark night of brutal oppression becomes necessary for maintaining the integrity of the state, it will be done.”

“Moreover, however bad it gets, it’s unlikely American fascism will cost anything approximating the 37-40 million lives forfeited to defend the world’s major capitalist systems during World War I, let alone the 60-80 million lost in World War II.”

“In a speech given at the Soviet Union’s Twenty First Party Congress in 1959, Nikita Khrushchev detailed the suffering and death of millions during the Stalin years. Stunned members of the Politburo broke into tears, crying’If only we had known!’; men who had done their damnedest not to know in order to survive.”

IF fascism comes to America, when it has ended, when the nation’s capitalist economy has been revitalized and it moves into the forefront again, Liberal American legislators will no doubt issue the same lament as they return the Constitution and Bill of Rights to their former place of prominence.”

“While Herr Marx is probably too much of an idealist to listen, I’m going to offer him a little objective advice:”

“There is only one thing over which we humans ever have complete control. Not our wealth. A bad investment, an economic crisis or an unforeseeable lawsuit can cost the most perspicacious individual everything they possess. Not our health. Even very health-conscious people contract typhoid, cholera, malaria, melanoma and other major diseases. And certainly not our lives. A lightening strike, plane crash, car accident, or one of the indicated illnesses, may result in our sudden death.  No, the only thing over which any of us have full authority is our personal integrity. One might, therefore, expect us to consider it our most valuable possession.  But, particularly at moments of crisis, integrity is the very first thing we humans forfeit in defense of our wealth, our health and our lives.”

“That’s how it was in the past! That’s how it is today! And, that’s how it will be tomorrow!

“Ever since World War II, Liberal Americans and British have asked in puzzlement: ‘How could they do it?’ of the modern and sophisticated Germans who turned East Europeans and Jews into slave labor, slaughtered Roma, homosexuals and other ‘undesirables,’ and carried out the Holocaust, all the while considering themselves good and honorable people.”

“America’s Liberals may live the answer to their question.”

(With that, Machiavelli abruptly ended his rebuttal, swept up his notes, and returned to his seat.  His “cut-to-the-chase” comment was almost twice as long as Marx’s Opening Statement, previously the longest presentation. Dr. Marx would not be speaking tonight.) 

To Lead the People: Notes on the Russian Revolution: Part II

The worst thing that can befall the leader of an extreme party is to be compelled to take over a government in an epoch when the movement is not yet ripe for the domination of the class he represents, and for the realization of the measures which that domination implies . . . Thus he necessarily finds himself in an insolvable dilemma. What he can do contradicts all his previous actions, principles and the immediate interests of his party, and what he ought to do cannot be done . . . Whoever is put into this awkward position is irrevocably doomed.              Friedrich Engels 1

In the spring of 1924 . . . I said to Smirnov: “Stalin will become the dictator of the U.S.S.R.”  Smirnov knew Stalin well . . .  “Stalin?” he asked me with amazement.  “But he is a mediocrity, a colorless nonentity.” “Mediocrity, yes; nonentity, no,” I answered him. “The dialectics of history have already hooked him and will raise him up.  He is needed by all of them — by the tired radicals, by the bureaucrats, by the nepmen, the kulaks, the upstarts, the sneaks, by all the worms that are crawling out of the upturned soil of the manured revolution.”                              Leon Trotsky 2

According to Marx, being the leader of a community inevitably requires defending first and foremost the individuals who are most politically active.  Given the conservative nature of political activity, that means defending first and foremost those who are socio-economically dominant.  Failing to give an established elite primary representation, an advocate for equality must either make war against them or abandon the quest for leadership.

The idea of an equalitarian leader in a non-equalitarian society not undergoing violent conflict is a contradiction in terms.  That Lenin, Trotsky and other Bolshevik leaders forgot or ignored this fundamental Marxist axiom explains the personal tragedies which befell them in the years which followed their mighty October.

War Communism: 1917-21

As noted in part I of this essay, prior to the revolution, Russia’s Marxist intellectuals had agreed it was going to be capitalist in nature.  The various historical stages Marx described would have to be traversed; skipping a stage was impossible.  Since Russia was feudal, it followed that its bourgeois-democratic period would be next: “Lenin accepted as unequivocally as the Mensheviks the bourgeois character of the incipient revolution, and the necessity to pass through the stage of bourgeois democracy on the way to socialism”.3 According to Lenin, “He who seeks to advance toward socialism by any other road, bypassing political democracy, inevitably arrives at conclusions both inept and reactionary.”4

The Bolsheviks also argued, and most Mensheviks agreed, that by transforming their country’s relationships with capitalist Western Europe, and by strengthening the resolve of West European workers, a victorious bourgeois revolution in Russia would,“spark” proletarian-socialist revolutions on the continent.  In turn, Western Europe’s socialist revolutions would then “spark” a subsequent proletarian-socialist revolution in Russia.5

The Bolshevik-Menshevik accord broke down over the question of what to do after Russia’s bourgeois revolution occurred.  Concluding the process which would eventually bring about its socialist revolution would take many years, the Mensheviks urged tempering the capitalist government’s hurtful practices by working from within.  The Bolsheviks, conversely, argued the “sparking” would be rapidly completed, and stood for opposing the bourgeois government from without, contending that would expedite continental Europe’s, then Russia’s, passage to the socialist stage of history.

In keeping with their analyses, the Marxist intellectuals uniformly welcomed the February 1917 revolution as capitalist.  The Mensheviks moved to support it, while the Bolsheviks adopted a stance of semi-loyal opposition; although their opposition was sufficiently moderate that it, too, often entailed assistance.

Yet, given the theoretical framework they employed, the Bolsheviks’ hesitancy to vigorously oppose the Provisional Government made sense.  Who would have the audacity to suggest Russia’s bourgeois-democratic stage could be passed through in only a few months; that the proletarian-socialist revolution was already approaching before the predicted outbreak of Western Europe’s socialist revolutions had even begun.

Initially, Lenin alone proved to be so rash.  Returning to Russia in April, “Lenin shocked the party leaders by stating flatly that ‘the bourgeois or bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia had been completed.’”6 Small wonder that he was promptly regarded by his fellow Bolsheviks as mad.

Lenin’s identification with Russian workers and peasants was much closer than that of other Bolsheviks.  He had little that was bourgeois about him. “When he lived in the Kremlin Lenin quite unaffectedly continued to live in the most simple style, sleeping on an iron bedstead in a carpetless room; he did not even consciously dispense with luxuries, but was merely rather irritated when anyone tried to force them upon him.”7

Between February and October 1917, Lenin’s empathy for the cruel suffering of peasants and workers repeatedly led him to interpret events in ways compatible with their interests and understandings; though unlike them, he filtered those interpretations through an absolutistic understanding of Marx’s paradigm in reaching  his conclusions.

It was the logic of the worker-peasant-soldier experience that no revolutionary change whatsoever had occurred in February. The Provisional Government was still guarding the interests of the preindustrial elite, just as the Tsar had always done.  It was attempting to prevent peasants from seizing land and workers from taking over factories, and it continued to prosecute the disastrous war.

Simple survival required the workers, peasants and soldiers to oppose the Provisional Government.  They had no elaborate theoretical justification. Nor did they need one.  They found the egalitarian perspective which defending their social existence demanded self-evidently true.  “Among the wage-earners and the land-working people it was common to hear talk of ‘all land to the peasants, all factories to the workers.’”8

Soon after the February uprising, Lenin began to offer a rationalization for the actions which workers, peasants, and soldiers were finding imperative.  In his pamphlet State and Revolution, and again in his April Theses, he described the proletarian revolution which he insisted was near at hand. “’The peculiarity of the current moment in Russia,’” Lenin reasoned, “’consists in the transition from the first stage of the revolution, which gave power to the bourgeoisie as a result of the insufficient consciousness and organization of the proletariat, to its second stage, which should give power into the hands of the proletariat and poorest strata of the peasantry.’”9

While believing Russia’s socialist revolution was at hand required Lenin to turn Marx’s theory inside out and upside down, his depiction of the approaching transformation was certainly radical-equalitarian.  Quoting Engels at length, in State and Revolution, he prophesied:

“‘The proletariat seizes state power and turns the means of production into state property to begin with.  But thereby it abolishes itself as the proletariat, abolishes all class distinctions and class antagonisms, and abolishes also the state as state. . . .  /The/ proletarian state will begin to wither away immediately after its victory because the state is unnecessary and cannot exist in a society in which there are no class antagonisms.'”10

“The bureaucracy and the standing army,” Lenin argued, “are a ‘parasite’ on the body of bourgeois society — a parasite created by the internal antagonisms which rend that society, but a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores.”11

Taking power into their own hands, Russia’s workers, peasants and soldiers would smash the existing bureaucratic state, abolish the army, and establish a proletarian state whose exclusive function would be to control the bourgeoisie while the sources of its power were discovered and dismantled.  That quickly accomplished, the workers/peasants/-soldiers would then disassemble their proletarian state, which no longer served any useful purpose.

As Lenin envisioned the proletariat’s remarkable undertaking:

. . . the ‘state’ is still necessary, but this is now a transitional state.  It is no longer a state in the proper sense of the word; for the suppression of the minority of exploiters by the majority of the wage slaves of yesterday is comparatively so easy, simple, and natural a task that it will entail far less bloodshed and it will cost mankind far less . . .  Naturally, the exploiters are unable to suppress the people without a highly complex machine for performing this task, but the people can suppress the exploiters even with a very simple ‘machine,’ almost without a ‘machine,’ without a special apparatus, by the simple oganization of the armed people (such as the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, we would remark, running ahead)”.12

Furthermore, this very simple peoples’ machine, “almost not a machine at all,” would require no special expertise or grand emoluments to run.

. . . the great majority of the functions of the old ‘state power’ have become so simplified and can be reduced to such exceedingly simple operations of registration, filing and checking that they can be easily performed by every literate person, can quite easily be performed for ordinary ‘work-men’s wages,’ and these functions can (and must) be stripped of every shadow of privilege, of every semblance of ‘official grandeur’.”13

Lenin and Trotsky were both adhering to this utopian vision at the moment of the Provisional Government’s overthrow.

“Fellow workingmen!” Lenin wrote a few days after the October Revolution, “Remember that you yourselves now govern the state.  No one will help you if you yourselves do not unite and take the whole business of state in your own hands.  Your soviets are from now on the organs of state authority.”14

In a speech declaring the end of the Provisional Government Trotsky proclaimed:

We, today, the Soviet of Soldiers’, Workers’, and Peasants’ Deputies, are going to undertake an experiment unique in history, the establishment of a government that will have no other aim than the satisfaction of the needs of the soldiers, workers, and peasants.  The state must become the instrument of the masses in the struggle for their liberation from all slavery.”15

The Natural Necessity of the New Industrial-Elite

Following the overthrow of the Tsar, Russia’s workers, peasants and soldiers had faced a collapsed economy.  Their situation was one in which they could preserve their socio-economic existence only by discontinuing the war and seizing land and factories.  It was no longer possible for them to sanction a continuation of the feudal institutional structure which formerly the Tsar and now the Provisional Government defended.  Peasants were already expropriating landlords and workers were taking over industries, despite the Provisional Government’s reproach.

While the workers, peasants and soldiers were prepared to tolerate arguments which rationalized what they were doing, they had no need for the involved theoretical justifications which Lenin, Trotsky and other Bolsheviks offered. Such justifications did not evolve naturally out of a defense of their lowly status.  On the other hand, since permitting the Bolsheviks’ interpretation of events to hold sway did not prevent them from defending their social existences, workers, peasants and soldiers made no effort to reject it.  Initially, they seemed puzzled by, and indifferent to, the Marxists’ theorizing.  They were enthusiastic when Lenin proclaimed Russia must stop fighting the war, or when he urged peasants to seize the land and workers the factories.  But his elaborate philosophical arguments made little impress.

For Menshevik and Bolshevik leaders, however, it was a very different matter.  If Lenin’s analysis was correct, if workers, peasants and soldiers were preparing to make another revolutionary gesture, it would be necessary for the Marxist intellectuals to come up with a new theoretical defense of their favored social existence.

Although, in sum, Lenin’s arguments would require modifications here, reformulations there, they promised to serve that critical function.  Certain aspects of his proposed program greatly disturbed his fellow Bolsheviks, particularly the talk about a genuine worker-peasant state.  But there was another, much less radical Lenin, who directly addressed their personal interests.  That more cautious Lenin spoke of:

. . . the practical need, which he had propounded almost at the same moment with no less vigor in Will the Bolsheviks Retain State Power?, to take over and utilize the technical apparatus of economic and financial control created and left behind by capitalism. . . . /In that essay/, Lenin had cautiously foreseen that the new regime would need a greater number than ever before of ‘engineers, agronomists, technicians, scientifically trained specialists of every kind,’ who would have ‘for the period of transition’ to be paid a higher wage than other workers.”16

This more practical Lenin, appealed to the Bolsheviks, and to Mensheviks, as well.  The analysis he presented could, and did, become the basis for an elite dictatorship in the name of, rather than by, the teeming masses, a dictatorship which would protect the Marxist intellectuals’ superior status against challenges coming from the below.

If the Marxist intellectuals wished to secure their hegemonic social existences in the developing post-February crisis they would need to drag their feet where the implementation of revolutionary change was concerned.  Insofar as the change took place anyway, they would be best served by gaining control of it, using the inherently elitist features of Lenin’s theory.  Which, of course, is how they behaved.

Except for Lenin and Trotsky, the Bolsheviks had balked at the idea of an uprising against the Provisional Government, though most workers believed it was imperative.  Of the Bolshevik Central Committee’s discussion of insurrection held only days before the government was actually deposed, John Reed reported:

All night long the 23rd they met.  There were present all the party intellectuals, the leaders, and delegates of the Petrograd workers and garrison.  Alone of the intellectuals Lenin and Trotsky stood for insurrection.  Even the military men opposed it.  A vote was taken.  Insurrection was defeated!  Then arose a rough workman, his face convulsed with rage. ‘I speak for the Petrograd proletariat,’ he said harshly. ‘We are in favor of insurrection.  Have it your own way, but I tell you now that if you allow the Soviets to be destroyed, we’re through with you!'”17

When the Bolsheviks seized power two days later they did so because they were forced into it; defensively responding to the Provisional Government’s attempt to crush them once and for all.

Having gained power, the Bolshevik Party next proved reluctant to cease involvement in the war.  In a speech to the soldiers’ delegates on November 11, Lenin acknowledged: “The vast majority of peasants, soldiers and workers are in favor of a policy of peace. . . . This is not the policy of the Bolsheviks: it is not a ‘Party’ policy at all; but it is the policy of the workers, soldiers, and peasants, that is, of the majority of the people.”18  “The soldiers were tired of fighting.” ‘They are voting with their feet,’ said Lenin mockingly to those who wanted him to continue with the war.”19  “In a stormy meeting of Bolshevik leaders on 8 January 1918 Lenin was voted down by an absolute majority for continuing the war.”20

Only by threatening resignation, only by confronting his fellow Bolshevik intellectuals with the wrath of the masses, did Lenin wreak his will. “Under threat of Lenin’s resignation his peace policy scraped through the Central Committee on 23 February, and on 3 March 1918 the treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed.”21

The Bolshevik coup had conclusively stripped the last remnant of institutionalized political protection from the landholding, preindustrial-elite.  While for a brief time the war with Germany had served to preserve nearly everyone’s social existence, it was now necessary for defending those with feudal interests alone, and was therefore no longer to be waged.

For the feudalists, the overthrow of the Provisional Government had been a changing-of-the-guard. With the treaty of Brest-Litovsk they would either accept expropriation, or, they would have to fight.  Predictably, they chose to do the latter. The actual revolution, the productive order conflict between those whose social existences could be sustained only if Russia’s feudal structure was preserved, and those who could no longer survive unless it was razed and an industrial system of production constructed, was about to begin: the Russian civil war.

The feudalists were immediately assisted by military forces from nations with shared interests. “Even before the war /with Germany/ ended in November 1918, Soviet territory was invaded by British, French, Japanese, United States’ and other allied troops.”22 Like Russia’s feudal elite, the foreign powers were acting defensively, and Lenin had predicted their involvement saying: “the confiscation of the landed estates will provoke the resistance not only of Russian land-owners, but also of foreign capital, with whom the great landed properties are connected through the intermediary of the banks”.23

For three years, the Civil  War would ravage Russia’s economy.  When the fighting finally ended, the pro-industrial forces controlled the country and the feudal order of production and distribution was being dismantled. But, however necessary and progressive, the Soviet Union emerging from the womb of feudal Russia would have no more to do with the classless world of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky’s dreams than did England or France after undergoing the same struggle in the 1640s and 1789 respectively.

Throughout the Civil War all the various Russian social segments continued to follow the courses of action which most readily defended their social existence.  By the spring of 1918 the distribution of land to the peasantry was essentially completed.  But, although “the expropriation of the landlords and the state lands brought the peasants upwards of half a billion gold rubles a year, . . . in the prices of state products /they/ were paying out a much larger sum.”24

To protect themselves the peasants began hoarding and engaging in what the government regarded as black market trading.  The Bolsheviks’ arguments for sharing notwithstanding, peasants resisted sending their produce to the cities via channels established by the new government. “The city demanded grain and raw materials from the rural districts, giving nothing in exchange except varicolored pieces of paper . . . and the muzhik buried his stores in the ground.  The government sent out armed workers’ detachments for grain.  The muzhik cut down his sowings.”25 Whatever small quantities of industrial goods the peasants required were most profitably acquired by doing their own trading.

Workers who had been most thoroughly urbanized, and whose connections with the countryside had long ago been severed, were naturally those most in need of industrialization.  Hence, they were the ones who had been most willing to prosecute the civil war against the feudal forces. They formed the nucleus of the Red Army which defeated the White Russians and the invading foreign armies.  Five million strong, they suffered and died in behalf of establishing the industrial framework without which they, like the nascent industrial elites, could no longer exist.

Other, less urbanized workers, joined with the poorest peasants in suppressing and expropriating wealthier peasants who would not share.

. . . the Bolsheviks appealed to those among the peasantry who had least to gain by speculative hoarding, and most to lose by the defeat of the revolution. They formed Committees of Poor Peasants in every village, gave them wide rights of search and confiscation, and entrusted to them the provision of food for the towns.”26

“. . . the machinery of exchange and distribution established by recent decrees was quickly pushed aside; and for some time to come the most effective instruments in extracting grain from the peasants were the ‘iron detachments’ of workers from towns and factories reinforced by the local committees of poor peasants.”27

“/T/he Bolshevik workers’ detachments, a Left speaker declared, were conducting ‘little short of war declared by the town on the country.’”28

With the Soviet economy in total disarray, millions of workers who had more recently arrived in the city and retained some rural roots, sought to preserve their socio-economic existence by returning to the countryside.  During this period there was “a mass exodus of industrial workers from the towns and reversion to the status and occupation of peasants.  The dislocation of industry in the first winter of the revolution had already started such a movement. The larger the city, the greater the decline; Petrograd had lost 57.5 percent of its population in three years, Moscow 44.5 percent.”29

“By the autumn of 1920 peasant discontent was too widespread to be concealed.” Lenin acknowledged “the majority of the peasants feel only too bitterly the cold and hunger and intolerable imposts” and “the majority of those who have spoken openly or indirectly abused the central power.”30

The situation was even worse for many workers. “The British Labour delegation visiting Russia in the spring /of 1920/ noted ‘the ragged and half-starved condition’ of factory workers, and learned that the peasants employed men at higher wages than the factories, plus /had/ a plentiful supply of food which the town worker does not get.’”31

Victor Serge wrote of “Petrograd, where the people are dying of hunger in the streets and dead horses are piled up in front of the Grand Opera.”32  “Nobody knows how many millions died by violence, by starvation, by epidemics. The Moscow food-cards in 1918 gave each recipient about one-seventh of the calories which the Germans received on their ration cards during the war, and about one-tenth of what was distributed in Great Britain.”33

Meanwhile, in defense of their favored socio-economic existences, the sons and daughters of the tsarist nobility, including some members of the nobility itself, had been flooding into the Bolshevik party, or into close association with the party, from the very moment of the October uprising. “Early in 1917 /the Bolshevik Party/ had no more than 23,000 members in the whole of Russia.” By 1922 that number had risen to 700,000.34  According to Trotsky, within five years of October more than 97 percent of the party consisted of members who had joined after the victory of the revolution.35  E.H. Carr writes: “It is indisputable that the Soviet bureaucrat of these early years was as a rule a former member of the bourgeois intelligentsia or official class, and brought with him many of the traditions of the old Russian bureaucracy.”36 The Thermidor of the revolution had already begun.

The needs of the indicated elite elements immediately brought them into conflict with the more equalitarian Old Guard of the Bolshevik Party; those disciples of Lenin and Trotsky who had closer ties with the worker-peasant masses.  Isaac Deutscher reports that as late as 1922:

The Old Guard still lived by its austere code of revolutionary morality.  Under the partmaximum a party member, even one who held the highest office, was not allowed to earn more than the wages of a skilled factory worker. True, some dignitaries were already availing themselves of loopholes and supplemented meagre earnings by all kinds of benefits.  But such evasions were still the exception.”37

More recent members of the Bolshevik Party, now the great majority, abided by no like morality.  Having a higher status to defend, they were far more energetic when it came to wooing and pressuring the Old Guard than were the worker-peasant masses.

As a consequence, despite the conviction they were engaged in building an egalitarian society, when the Old Guard, Lenin and Trotsky included, employed violence to induce compliance with the Party’s (increasingly conservative) dictates, they employed it against those who were poorer and less politically active.

For dealing with peasant horders of food Lenin prescribed the gun. In January 1918 he “advocated ‘mass searches’ of all storehouses and goods’ yards and the shooting on the spot of speculators found to be holding up grain supplies.”38 For anarchists, who insisted power should at once be equalized by dismantling the political state, and whose position was closer to that of Lenin in State and Revolution than was his own spring 1918 stance, likewise, death.

In April 1918, his consciousness remarkably transformed, Trotsky declared:

“I am asked further: ‘You call yourselves socialist Communists, and yet you shoot and imprison your comrades, the anarchist Communists?’. . . I will first explain in a few words wherein the mistake of the anarchist doctrine lies. The anarchist declares that the working class needs no state power; what it does need is to organize production. State power, he says, is a bourgeois service.  State power is a bourgeois machine, and the working class must not take it into its hands.  This is a thoroughly mistaken view . . . We say: in order to organize production in a new manner, it is necessary to wrest the state apparatus, the government machine, from the hands of the enemy and grasp it in our own hands”.39

For making this ”mistake”, Lenin and Trotsky dictated anarchists would have to pay with their lives.

But whereas recalcitrant peasants and anarchist workers were to be handled violently, those who would constitute the new industrial-elite would be coaxed into giving assistance through economic and social rewards. Equality would be built by encouraging inequality.  Despite Lenin’s contention in State and Revolution that “’technicians, managers, and bookkeepers, as well as all /Party/ officials, shall receive salaries no higher than a ‘worker’s wages’”, “no specific commitment was undertaken to equalize wages; nor was any serious attempt made to enforce equality in practice.”40

For the purpose of fighting intervention, officers from the old army, doggedly supervised by political commissars, had been employed by the Red Army.  Similarly, many of the old civil servants had to be re-employed.  Both these categories remained to form the centre of that ‘soviet bureaucracy’ which Lenin never tired of denouncing, but which has proved so tenacious of life.”41

The Bolshevik policies soon provoked a reaction.

In the spring of 1918 . . . opposition began to come from Left groups within the party which accused the party leadership of opportunist tendencies and of an abandonment of Bolshevik principles. . . . /The opposition/ turned its attention to the critical economic situation, attacking Lenin’s policy on such matters as the employment of specialists, the formation of industrial trusts and one-man management in industry. . . .  At the Eighth Party Congress of March 1919, with the civil war at its height, a ‘military opposition’ unsuccessfully challenged Trotsky’s building up a new national conscript army with professional officers partly drawn from the old Tsarist army.   At the Ninth Congress of March 1920 a group using the party slogan of ‘democratic centralism’ objected to the introduction of one-man management in industry and secured the support of the trade unions in the person of Tomsky . . .  A special ‘Kremlin control commission’ was set up to investigate ‘Kremlin privileges,’ which were giving rise to complaints within the Party, and ‘to bring them, insofar as it was impossible to eliminate them alto-gether, within limits which would be understood by every Party comrade.’”42

/I/n its theses read at the Party gathering of 4 April 1918 and published a fortnight later in Kommunist, /the opposition/ referred indignantly to ‘a labour policy designed to implant discipline among the workers under the flag of ‘self-discipline,’ the introduction of labour service for workers . . . of piece-rates, of the lengthening of the working day, etc., and argued that ‘the introduction of labour discipline coupled with the restoration of the leadership of the capitalists in production . . . threatens the enslavement of the working class and excites the discontent not only of backward strata, but of the vanguard of the proletariat.'”43

In the autumn of 1920 a group which came to be known as the “Workers’ Opposition” formed.

Its program was a hotch-potch of current discontents, directed in the main against the growing centralization of economic and political controls, against the growing efficiency and ruthlessness of the machine . . . /I/t protested against the predominance of intellectuals in the party and called for a drastic purge of nonworkers; and it wanted open election to all party posts and free discussion within the party, with facilities for the dissemination of dissident views.”44

Neither Lenin nor Trotsky showed any sympathy for these early reactions from the left.

Trotsky accused the Workers’ Opposition of putting forward dangerous slogans. ‘They turn democratic principles into a fetish.  They put the right of workers to elect their own representatives above the Party, thus challenging the right of the Party to affirm its dictatorship, even when this dictatorship comes into conflict with the evanescent mood of the workers’ democracy.  We must bear in mind the historical mission of our Party.  The Party is forced to maintain its dictatorship without stopping for these vacillations, nor even the momentary falterings of the working class. This realization is the mortar which cements our unity. The dictatorship of the proletariat does not always have to conform to formal principles of democracy.'”45

Lenin and Trotsky had travelled a long way in a very short time, and their journey had not been in the direction of anything resembling a socialist, let alone a communist, society.  Daniel and Gabriel Cohn-Bendit describe Lenin’s and Trotsky’s actions as reactionary in that respect.  They note, and their argument is certainly supported by the evidence, that the party program, even in the early post-revolution years, constituted a complete renunciation of the program Lenin outlined in State and Revolution.  It was an even more pointed renunciation of socialism ala Marx.

However, the Cohn-Bendit’s then go on to blame the Bolsheviks for creating the bureaucratic counter-revolution, and in doing so, they are guilty of the very thing for which they took Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolshevik Party to task when they claimed the Party’s vanguard efforts had created the revolution. As Marx emphasized over and over, neither an individual nor a collaborative group of individuals/a party ever determines the course of a nation’s history.  Rather, its history is the result of material forces impinging on all of its citizens and the sum of their self-interested reactions to those forces.  The Bolsheviks did not start, could not have started, the Russian Revolution.  Just as no small body of individuals has the power to begin a revolution, neither can it determine its course once the revolution is in progress.

To be sure, Lenin and Trotsky must bear their share of responsibility for helping to stultify or redirect egalitarian currents in the Russian revolution.  Particularly after the beginning of the civil war, the thrust of their efforts worked against, rather than for, the construction of a classless society.

But the Cohn-Bendits neglect to ask themselves the most important question; namely, “Why did Lenin and Trotsky behave that way?”  Clearly, it was not out of a desire for a new hierarchically structured social order.  Trotsky, and in particular Lenin, yearned for communism far more than the majority of Russians, peasants and factory workers included.  The problem was that neither their hegemonic social existence nor the political consciousness which that hegemonic social existence produced, prepared the Bolsheviks to represent the classless community of their aspirations.

Given the conditions existing in the Soviet Union at the time, and the nature of political activity, Lenin and Trotsky were continually forced to choose between relinquishing power or abandoning their egalitarian objectives.  They repeatedly opted to do the latter, often reluctantly, and with convoluted rationalizations.

But far from being singularly to blame for the establishment of a new bureaucratic-capitalist elite, Lenin, Trotsky, and most other members of the Bolshevik Old Guard, were unwilling to move right fast enough or far enough to be relevant as leaders very long.  In only a few years most of the Old Bolsheviks would be dead, Trotsky exiled and subsequently killed, because of their hesitancy to adequately solidify the power and positions of the new industrial-elite and their Bolshevik Party protectors in the context of the world economic collapse that began in the late 1920s.

In retrospect, there is nothing very puzzling about the path of the Russian Revolution. The Marxist intellectuals were right when they argued the country had reached a point at which either the feudal productive order must be razed and an industrial system established, or, the majority of Russians would be unable to maintain their social existence and growing numbers would fail to survive. In this regard, Milovan Djilas said of the Marxists:

. . . only the Communist parties were both revolutionary in their opposition to the status quo and staunch and consistent in their support of the industrial transformation.  In practice, this meant a radical destruction of established ownership relations.  No other party went so far in this respect.  None was ‘industrial’ to that degree.”46

Yet, if it was their aggressive pro-industrialization stance which made the Bolsheviks momentarily relevant, they soon discovered that insofar as razing the country’s feudal strucure permitted peasants and workers to move back from whence they had fallen, they automatically diminished their political activity.  For them to battle with the educated sons and daughters of the old Tsarist nobility, particularly when they needed their unique industrial-world skills, would be a far more disruptive undertaking than to vie with each other within the state-capitalist framework aborning.  E.H. Carr remarks of the post-revolutionary period: “The rank and file for the most part made their submission or abandoned political activity.”47

“’The chief shortcoming of the masses,’” Lenin “told the chairmen of provincial soviet executive committees in July 1918, ‘is their timidity and reluctance to take affairs into their own hands.’”48  It is another irony that this reluctance was due in no small part to the fact that tens-of-thousands of Marxist intellectuals were struggling hard to prevent such an eventuality, even Lenin and Trotsky often providing them assistance. The Marxists might yearn for a genuinely socialist man.  But, in defense of their own hegemonic interests, for the moment they would have to cripple or kill any who began to arise.

Despite Marx’s personal abhorrence of capitalism, if given an absolutistic and  Hegelian interpretation, his theory would be useful for justifying the construction of a state-capitalist order. The anarchist Michael Bakunin had foreseen this in 1873 when he prophesied that Marx’s followers would:

“. . . proceed to liberate humanity in their own way. They will concentrate the reins of government in a strong hand.  They will establish a single state bank, concentrating in its hands all commercial, industrial, agricultural, cultural, and even scientific production, and then divide the masses into two armies – industrial and agricultural – under the direct command of state engineers, who will constitute a new privileged scientific and political class.”49

Faced with foreign invading armies, with peasants and workers who acted upon their immediate self-interest, with military men, technicians, party bureaucrats and professionals of every kind who did the same, it was a relatively simple matter for Lenin and Trotsky to proceed dictatorially.  Like the other Marxist intellectuals, they already had the requisite condescending attitude.

Unlike Marx:

The Bolsheviks had never contented themselves with giving expression to the actual moods or aspirations of the working class.  They regarded it as their mission to shape those moods and to prompt and develop those aspirations.  They looked upon themselves as political tutors of the working class and were convinced that as consistent Marxists they knew better than the oppressed and unenlightened working class could know what was its real historic interest and what should be done to promote it.”50

The more anarchic the situation became, the more Lenin and Trotsky strove to centralize political power, to take the reins into their own hands, believing they might somehow steer the nation in the “proper” direction.  It was a notably non-Marxian assumption which underlay their effort.  Marx started with the proposition that all of politics is superstructure, that political relationships and institutions, including the state, will merely reflect relationships of an economic variety.  The former can never be used to create a new form of the latter.  Lenin and his followers discarded this idea as passe and became builders of the Russian state-capitalist productive-distributive order whose birth they had once predicted.  Lenin sometimes appeared to understand and accept this. In May, 1918 he argued:

Evolution towards state capitalism—there is the evil, there is the foe against whom we are invited to struggle.  And yet when I read these references to such enemies in the paper of the Left communists, I ask: What has happened to these people, how can they through poring over extracts from a book forget reality?  Reality says that state capitalism would be for us a step forward.  If we in Russia in a short space of time could get state capitalism, that would be a victory.  How could they fail to see that the small proprietor, small capital, is our enemy?  How could they see the chief enemy in state capitalism?”51

The Lenin who had once argued Bolsheviks should oppose Russia’s revolutionary capitalist order from without, now dogmatically justified representing and defending it from within.

Neither Lenin nor Trotsky were willing to accept that in the final analysis the Russian people—acting upon immediate self-interest–were dictating the course of events, not the Bolshevik party, or they as the party’s leaders; though at different times both men seemed near to reaching that conclusion. In a conversation during the civil war Lenin likened himself to the engineer of a runaway train, hurtling downhill along a track.  By using all his strength, Lenin observed, the engineer might nudge the train almost imperceptibly left or right against the rails.  But he could not alter its speed, and he could not change its direction.

By 1921 the battle of each against all–peasants against workers, lower peasants against middle and upper peasants, soldiers now against workers, now against peasants, party bureaucrats against anyone who threatened their political, hence their socio-economic dominance–was threatening to destroy the last semblance of national existence.

“Theft in factories was so common it was estimated that half the workers normally stole the things they themselves produced.”52  “Cases occurred in which the workers, having taken over a factory, simply appropriated its funds or sold its stock and plant for their own advantage.”53

Russia’s national income /in 1921/ amounted to only one third of her income in 1913 . . . industry produced less than one-fifth of the goods produced before the war . . . the coal mines turned out less than one-tenth and the iron foundaries only one-fortieth of their normal output. . . . the railways were destroyed . . . all stocks and reserves on which any economy depends for its work were utterly exhausted . . . the exchange of goods between town and country had come to a standstill . . . Russia’s cities and towns had become so depopulated that Moscow had only one-half and Petrograd one-third of its former inhabitants.”54

By the end of 1921 famine was raging in the Volga farming areas, and the number affected had climbed to 36 million. “Cannibalism reappeared, a ghastly mockery of the high socialist ideals and aspirations emanating from the capital cities.”55 And all the while the nouveau elites and members of the rapidly growing Bolshevik bureaucracy strove to secure their own favored socio-economic positions, the latter fighting more radical party members with a vigor which kept pace with, because it was a defensive reaction to, the deepening crisis.

“Now that we were in power,” recalled Victor Serge, “we were surrounded by revolutionists of the latest vintage, who would have been glad to turn against us at the first sign of bad weather.  Already they occupied a good many offices, each one demanding his little bit of power, his special ration of herring and tobacco – and an automobile at the first possibility.”56

The end of the civil war revealed the full extent of the losses and destruction which it had entailed and removed the restraints of loyalty which war commonly imposes; discontent with the regime became, for the first time outside political circles, widespread and vocal, extending both to peasants and factory workers . . .” 57

The Kronstadt rebellion, an uprising of soldiers and sailors who demanded freedom and an end to party dictatorship, took place in 1921.58  The Makhno movement, a largely peasant fight against all central authority and for total democracy, reached its zenith the same year.59

Something drastic would have to be done if the Soviet Union was going to remain a nation.  As is ever the case in a crisis of this sort, the alternatives before Lenin and Trotsky reduced to a sharp move either to the left or or to the right.

Unfortunately, a sharp left turn would put workers and peasants in direct conflict with the nascent industrial-elite and their Bolshevik party defenders; neither of which would accept socio-economic diminishment without a bloody struggle.  In effect, an assault on the new state-capitalist elite would entail asking workers and peasants to continue with civil war, to go on jeopardizing their lives.  And for what?  Even if they were successful, the workers and peasants would lose, since the new elite included the chemists, engineers, physicists, teachers, etc., needed for industrializing the country, and they would leave for the capitalist west where their talents would be rewarded.  It’s reasonable to assume the workers and peasants would not have heeded such a suicidal call if it had been given; in which case Lenin and Trotsky would immediately have fallen from power.

With reluctance and expressed misgivings on the part of some, the Bolshevik leaders elected to move to the right, embarking upon a “New Economic Program” (NEP), which Lenin described as taking “one step back” so that the country could subsequently take “two steps forward.” Under the NEP state-capitalism would be openly encouraged, and the favored social existences of the pro-industrial elites made secure.  With his usual candor, Lenin acknowledged that the NEP was a “retreat.”

The radical swing to the right would at least enable most workers and peasant to survive, though it would mean continued suffering for many of them, and it would greatly strengthen the hand of their new masters.  Because it had the backing of party bureaucrats and the nascent industrial-elite, along with the acquiesence of the worker-peasant masses, moving to the right would also permit Lenin and Trotsky to continue as leaders for awhile.

But while the natural necessity of veering right is apparent, there was an obvious contradiction in Lenin’s decision to oversee it.  In 1900 he had conceded the Tsarist regime was sufficiently viable to last a few more years.  Only weeks before the February Revolution he argued that he did not expect the anti-feudal revolution to occur within his life time. Yet on neither occasion did he recommend abetting feudalism because of what he considered its momentary inevitability.  The Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski has given a pithy explanation why being a revolutionary always means acting out a denial of the immediately inevitable, writing: “The striving for revolution cannot be born only when the situation is ripe, because among the conditions for this ripeness are the revolutionary demands made of an unripe reality.”60

In determining to make peace with an unripe reality Lenin was moving still further away from the revolutionary posture with which he had begun.  The Lenin of 1917 was rapidly withering away.

Lenin appears to have employed the time-worn liberal justification for moving right: “If I don’t do it, an extremist will take my place and the result will be yet more abhorrent.”  Certainly, in embarking upon the NEP he attempted to centralize Bolshevik political authority more than ever before out of an expressed fear that reactionaries might otherwise gain control.  Lenin spoke of the need for ever greater vigilence and discipline when a step back is being undertaken. Using the analogy of a retreating army he warned of the possibility some people might start running, causing much that had been accomplished to be lost.61

Trotsky, too, endorsed the further destruction of what little remained of party democracy, using the same sort of reasoning.  The Party must remain aloof from, and uncontaminated by, the temporary retreat. “We allow the NEP-men,” Trotsky acknowledged, “but in the party we will allow no NEP-manism or petty bourgeois, no – we shall burn it out of the party with sulphuric acid and red hot irons”.62

With its redoubled emphasis on the importance of leaders in determining the course of history, the Bolshevik’s new position was non-Marxist to the core.

The Results of the NEP

“Insecure from the beginning of its tenure of power,” Harold Shukman observes, “the Bolshevik government lurched towards stability on the two crutches of political oppression and economic concession.”63

Trotsky relates:

/The/ economy revived . . . With it came a revival of theaters, restaurants and entertainment establishments. Hundreds of thousands of people of the various professions who spent the vigorous years of the Civil War in a kind of coma, now revived, stretched out their limbs and began to take part in the re-establishment of normal life.  All of them were on the side of the opponents of permanent revolution.”64

Victor Serge, a poet of the revolution as well as an activist, writes:

In a few years time the NEP restored to Russia an aspect of prosperity.  But to many of us this prosperity was sometimes distasteful and often disquieting. . . . Money lubricated and befouled the entire machine just as under capitalism.  A million and a half unemployed received relief–inadequate relief–in the big towns.  Saloons were open until three o’clock in the morning in the heart of the cities. There was gambling, drunkenness, and all the old filth of former times . . .  Classes were reborn under our very eyes; at the bottom of the scale, the unemployed receiving 24 rubles a month; at the top, the engineer receiving 800; and between the two, the party functionary with 222, but obtaining a good many things free of charge.  There was a growing chasm betwen the prosperity of the few and the misery of the many . . .  There was squalid, heartbreaking poverty, an ulcer in our young society, while wealth was arrogant and self-satisfied. Our socialist militia arrested the poor apple-woman who neglected to take out a license, while the fat shop-keeper, enriched by the sale at speculative prices of articles manufactured by our socialist industry, looked on and decided that by and large, order was returning . . . “65

The process was repeated in the countryside.  Recovery commenced, but “the growth of the kulak far outstripped the general growth of agriculture.”66

The rightist mood even swept the campus, where “teachers and students staged anti-communist demonstrations and strikes, and communists were man-handled for singing the Internationale, the revolution’s anthem.”67

Cries of betrayal” now began to come from the left of the party ranks.68 “Shlyapnikov and Kollontai /of the Workers’ Opposition/ charged the government with promoting the interests of the new bourgeoisie and of the kulaks, with trampling upon the workers’ rights, and with the gross betrayal of the revolution.”69  “Men of the Workers’ Opposition had already said that NEP stood for the New Exploitation of the Proletariat; and the quip had become something of a slogan.”70

Consistent with Marx’s logic, the bureaucratic elites quickly gained the political control of the party apparatus needed to defend their hegemonic social status. With the arrival of the NEP, Serge notes:

The old militants, those who had experience of prison and the love of ideas, were only a handful; and these few were placed in jobs isolating them from the rank and file . . .  Already bureaus were replacing the party; the worker, the militant rank-and-filer, hardly dared open his mouth.  We sensed the coming omnipotence of the functionaries.”71

Trotsky observes:

Professor Ustryalov wondered whether the New Economic Policy of 1921 was a ‘tactic’ or an ‘evolution.’  This question disturbed Lenin very much.  The further course of events showed that the ‘tactic,’ thanks to a special configuration of historical conditions, became the source of ‘evolution.’  The subsequent strategic retreat of the revolutionary party served as the beginning of its degeneration.”72

By April of 1922 Lenin was reported to be deeply troubled about the course events were taking, “suffer/ing/ from long spells of insomnia.”73 ” /I/n November 1922, he admitted that the old state apparatus, which ought to have been smashed, had instead taken over, and might yet win out over the communists even while they thought they were at its helm.”74 A month later he complained: “That which we call our apparatus is still completely alien to us; it represents a bourgeois, tsarist mechanism.”75 In 1923 Lenin again described the Soviet state as “a bourgeois Tsarist machine . . . barely varnished with socialism.”76  “Our anxiety at seeing this degradation of the state and these first symptoms of the bourgeoisification of Soviet society,” says Serge, “was, of course, not emotional, it was intellectual.”  “Lenin died on January 21, 1924, haunted by this anxiety,” Serge continues. ‘Is not the helm escaping from our hands?’ he asked.”77

There is no denying that Lenin played a counter-equalitarian role in promoting the New Economic Policy, a policy which “followed lines not far removed from those adumbrated by Left SRs and Mensheviks at the eighth All-Russian Congress of Soviets.”78 It brought into full flower the use of piece-work rates, preferential rations, bonuses, all the myriad methods “appealing to personal, selfish interests.”79

At the same time, Lenin was the first Old Guard casualty of the thermidorian process through which the Soviet industrial-elite established unchallenged authority over the country.  There “appears to have been a sudden change of Lenin’s attitude during the last few months of his working life.”80 Alarmed at the turn of events emanating from the NEP, he suddenly returned to his former concern with the growth of the bureaucracy.  In February of 1922 he came out against the growing nationalism of the  bureaucrats, stressing once more the dependency of Russian socialism upon the success of socialism in industrialized nations. “’We have always proclaimed and repeated this elementary truth of Marxism,’” he exhorted, “’that the victory of socialism requires the joint efforts of workers in a number of advanced countries.’”81

Increasingly anxious, in May of 1922 Lenin suffered the first of a series of major strokes. His speech was impaired, his right arm and leg paralyzed.  Following the stroke he seemed more determined than ever to take on the bureaucracy.

With great effort he drew up a comprehensive survey of the situation of the country, worked out a program of action, and tried hard to persuade his colleagues on the Politburo and the Central Committee to accept it.  This program, which was not requested by the members of the Politburo, involved considerable changes in government methods, in personnel, and to some extent in objectives.  The majority of the Politburo were unenthusiastic.”82

“After every spell of illness, when he returned to watch anew the movements of the state machine, Lenin’s alarm grew; and with pathetic determination he struggled to grip the steering wheel in his paralyzed hands.”83 His conflict with the bureaucracy inevitably brought him up against Stalin, the epitome of an amoral, apolitical, bureaucratic personality.

“One of the bitterest disappointments for Lenin was to see that the very commissariat which had been created for the purpose of combating red tape, corruption, and other ills of bureaucratism, the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection headed by Stalin, turned out to be the worst of them all.”84

“The so-called ‘Lenin testament”‘- that is, his last advice on how to organize the Party leadership – was written in two installments during his second illness; on December twenty-fifth, 1922, and on January fourth, 1923. ‘Stalin, having become General Secretary,’ declares the testament, ‘has concentrated enormous power in his hands, and I am not sure that he always knows how to use that power with sufficient caution.’  Ten days later this restrained formula seemed insufficient to Lenin, and he added a postscript. ‘I propose to the comrades to find a way to remove Stalin from that position and appoint to it another,’ who would be, ‘more loyal, more courteous and more considerate to comrades, less capricious, etc.'”85

To his wife Krupskaya Lenin said of Stalin, “he is devoid of the most elementary honesty, the most simple human honesty”.86 But there was no interest among the bureaucrats for this sort of thing.  A month later Lenin severed all personal relations with Stalin.87  “And when at last, a dying man, his mind ablaze, he moved to retrieve the revolution from its heavy encumbrance,” writes Isaac Deutscher, “it was to Trotsky that he turned as his ally.”88

However, Trotsky, usually very farsighted concerning matters political, hesitated to take up the attack upon Stalin.  In Deutscher’s estimation, at the time:

The truth is that Trotsky refrained from attacking Stalin because he felt secure.  No contemporary, and he least of all, saw in the Stalin of 1923 the menacing and towering figure he was to become.  It seemed to Trotsky almost a bad joke that Stalin, the willful and sly but shabby and inarticulate man in the background, should be his rival.”89

Following Lenin’s first stroke, the party machine came under the control of Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev working as a team. While Lenin had tapped Trotsky as his natural heir, the conservative bureaucrats found those three “masters of mediocrity” more to their liking. Initially, Trotsky even went so far as to assist the triumvirate in keeping Lenin’s testament from being made public.  But his commitments were far too radical for him to long find acceptable the path they immediately began to follow.

“/T/he triumvirs sought assiduously to please everybody, promising something to every social class and group, pandering to every kind of complacency, and flattering every imaginable conceit.”90 Meanwhile, Stalin “used his wide powers of appointment to eliminate from important posts, in the centre and in the provinces, members who might be expected to follow Trotsky”.91  “Trotsky watched this change in the party, grasped its significance, but could do nothing to arrest it. There was only one way in which he might have tried to counteract it: by appealing openly to the rank and file.”92 That he hesitated to do.

In the summer of 1923 workers in Petrograd and Moscow engaged in spontaneous opposition to the labor policies of the triumvirate.

Throughout July and August there was a great deal of industrial unrest.  Workers felt that they were made to carry too much of the burden of industrial recovery. . . .  ‘Wild’ strikes broke out in many factories, spread and were accompanied by violent explosions of discontent.  The trade unions were caught by surprise; and so were the party leaders. The threat of a general strike was in the air; and the movement seemed on the point of turning into a political revolt.”93

The triumvirs lashed out at their most visible and vocal adversaries, the Workers’ Opposition.94  Myasnikov, Kuznetsov, and Moiseev, who back in April and May had circulated a manifesto “denouncing the New Exploitation of the Proletariat and urging the workers to fight for Soviet democracy,” were arrested.95  Left groups active in the factories, such as the “Workers’ Truth,” were suppressed.

At this point, Trotsky began to dissociate himself from the triumvirs.  However, his initial reactions were notably moderate.  After verbal clashes with them he “asked to be sent abroad as ‘a soldier of the revolution’ to help the German party to prepare its revolution.”96 When his request refused by the party, Trotsky finally began to go on the offensive, hesitantly, feeling his way.  Then, at the close of 1923 he formed the “Left Opposition,” “dedicated to revolutionary internationalism and the restoration of workers’ democracy inside the Soviet Union and the Communist International.”97

At the outset Trotsky stood virtually alone among the intellectuals.  Nor could he hope to gain much support from within the party, considering that by 1924 “those who had belonged to the Bolshevik party since the early days of 1917 already formed less than 1 percent of the membership.”98 In addition, “only 15 or 16 percent of the entire membership consisted of factory workers.”99 And these were predictably the elite of that element, hardly good prospects for building a serious opposition.

Moreover, because the triumvirs were responding to worker protests with carrots and sticks in an ad hoc fashion, there was no wide base of support for the Left Opposition within the working class. The Opposition was urging permanent revolution, identification with and concern for the international movement.  It argued for stopping the growth of a wealthy kulak class, and for moving against the interests of party bureaucrats. “‘Strike against the Kulak, the NEP-man and the Bureaucrat!’, ‘Down With Opportunism!’, ‘Carry out Lenin’s Testament!’, ‘Beware of a Split in the Party!’, ‘Preserve Bolshevik Unity!;, such were the Opposition’s watchwords.”100  For workers and peasants to follow the Left Opposition would have meant a return to violent struggle.

“The last thing the workers, most of whom had their roots in the country, could look forward to was a conflict with the peasantry.  They wished for safety first. As this was what Stalin seemed to offer them, they were wary of sticking out their necks for the Opposition.  Stalin’s strength lay in the appeal he made to the weary and disillusioned mass, and not merely the ‘petty official and hanger-on’ responded to the doctrine of consolidation more readily than to the heroic evocation of permanent revolution.”101

“Ten years ago the workers of the two capitals were ready to give their lives at Trotsky’s word of command.  Now they would not even turn their heads to listen to him.”102

Trotsky was becoming politically irrelevant.   As he subsequently reflected:

The masses lacked faith that the new situation could be seriously changed by a new struggle.  Meantime the bureaucracy asserted: ‘For the sake of an international revolution, the Opposition proposes to drag us into a revolutionary war.  Enough of shakeups!  We have earned the right to rest.  We will build the socialist society at home’.  This gospel of repose firmly consolidated the apparatchiki and the military and state officials and indubitably found an echo among the weary workers, and still more the peasant masses.”103

“. . . the workers were tired. . . . On the other hand, the bureaucracy fought with extraordinary ferocity.”104

The lines were now sharply drawn.  To be for Stalin was to be against Trotsky.  It was to be for socialism in one country (an impossibility according to Marx), and against a primary commitment to the world revolution.  It meant being for the NEP encouragement of inequality and against Trotsky’s insistance that further socio-economic leveling be undertaken.

The minority of workers who were sympathetic to the Left Opposition justified their inaction with the sort of arguments individuals have always used when asked to risk their socio-economic existence, possibly their lives, for offensive purposes. “’You understand, said the printers in my /Serge’s/ unit. If I join up with you and you are defeated, what’s going to become of me and all the kids?’”105

And leading members of the Opposition, quite reasonably, did expect to lose.

“I did not believe in our victory /Serge recollected/, and at heart I was even sure that we would be defeated.  When I was sent to Moscow with our group’s messages for Lev Davidovich /Trotsky/, I told him so.  We talked in the spacious office of the Concessions Comitteee. . . .  /H/e was suffering from a fit of malaria; his skin was yellow, his lips were almost livid.  I told him that we were extremely weak, that we, in Leningrad, had not rallied more than a few hundred members, that our debates left the mass of workers cold.  I felt that he knew all this better than I did. But he, as a leader, had to do his duty and we, as revolutionaries, had to do ours.  If defeat was inevitable, what else could one do but meet it with courage?”106

“Off the record /Trotsky/ admitted that the ideas and slogans of the ruling group met an emotional need in the rank and file, that this overlaid their antagonism, and that the Opposition was at variance with the popular temper.  It is not the business of the Marxist revolutionary, Trotsky reflected, to bow to the reactionary mood of the masses. At times when their class consciousness is dimmed, he must be prepared to become isolated from them. . . .  The revolutionary has to fight no matter whether he is destined to end as Lenin did – to live and see his cause triumph – or to suffer Liebnecht’s fate who served his cause through martyrdom.  In his private notes and in talks with friends Trotsky hinted at this last alternative more than once; and . . . he seemed already more and more resigned inwardly to ‘Liebnecht’s fate.'”107

In terms of numbers, the Opposition was hardly worthy of its name. “The estimates of its actual membership . . . vary from 4,000 to 8,000. . . . Compared with the party’s total membership, which amounted to about three-quarters of a million, a few thousand oppositionists formed a tiny minority.”108

Serge recorded Trotsky’s address to the Central Committee meeting which preceded the Opposition leaders’ subsequent expulsion from the Central Committee:

“Trotsky: ‘Through the present apparatus, through the present regime, the proletarian vanguard undergoes the pressure . . . ‘ (The noise increases more and more, the orator can hardly be heard.) ‘of the upstart bureaucrats including the worker-bureaucrats’ (tumult, whistling), ‘of the administrators, the petty bosses, the new-born proprietors, the privileged intellectuals of city and country . . . “‘Voroshilov: ‘Zinoviev, it’s outrageous!’ Skrypnik: ‘The platform of the Central Committee wasn’t made for such infamy.’109

On October 23rd, 1927, Stalin asked the Central Committee for Trotsky’s expulsion, along with that of Zinoviev, who by then had gone from being an enemy of the Opposition to a central member.

Of the latter meeting, Serge writes:

There was a morbid tenseness in the air, such as might be felt at an execution where hangman and accomplices view their victim with deep hatred but also with deep awe and with gnawing uncertainty about the justice of the deed and the consequences.  At the session, the Stalinists and the Bukharinists constantly interrupted Trotsky’s last pleas with bursts of hatred and vulgar vituperation.  They shut their ears to his arguments; and they urged the chairman to shut his mouth.  From the chairman’s table inkpots, heavy volumes, and a glass were flung at Trotsky’s head while he spoke.”110

The expulsions from the Central Committee carried.  The following month Trotsky and Zinoviev were expelled from the Communist Party, and in January 1928 Trotsky was exiled to Alma Ata, a few hundred miles from China’s border. One year later he was exiled from the country.

The Material Logic of Stalinism

The “natural leader” during a time of political reaction will necessarily possess unique qualities.  Since it is his function to defend an existing state of affairs, and defending the existing state of affairs requires no broad theoretical constructs, he must be an atheoretical, non-philosophical personality.  Toward the same end–preserving the status quo–he must also be extremely sensitive to which way the various political winds are blowing, attuned to the lay of forces which are pulling in other directions.  In that regard, it’s helpful if he possesses a sizeable ego, since being egoistic will lead him to personalize every disagreement with his own position, thus providing him with the requisite political sensitivity.  Finally, an innate lack of consistency, save for the constant desire to be in charge, even a devious opportunism, will stand him well.

Stalin had all of the requisite attributes in abundance. “Cautious, cunning, and caring not a straw for logical and doctrinal niceties, he borrowed ideas and slogans from both right and left and combined them often quite incongruously.”111 A supporter of the Provisional Government’s war policy following the February Revolution, Stalin immediately fell silent when Lenin returned to urge defeatism.  As soon as he saw that Lenin’s stance was gaining mass support, he embraced it as though it had always been his own. Long considered an intellectual weathercock by party members, indecisive, moving with the winds of the moment, he possessed the narrow vision and aphilosophical disposition required to oversee the country’s descent into fascism in seemingly automatic fashion.

“Stalin looked neither far ahead nor far behind,” observed Milovan Djilas.112 “His mind,” said Trotsky, “is not only devoid of range but is even incapable of logical thinking.  Every phrase of his speech has some immediate political aim.  But his speech as a whole never rises to a logical structure.”113  When faced by great problems Stalin always retreats – not through lack of character as in the case of Kamenev, but through narrowness of horizon and lack of creative imagination.  His suspicious caution almost organically compels him at moments of great decision and deep difference of opinion to retire into the shadow, to wait, and if possible to insure himself against both outcomes.”114

If Stalin’s qualities led him to take positions which workers and peasants now found more acceptable than those of the Opposition, those same qualities were indispensible to the bureaucracy as well.  Trotsky observes:

“Before he felt out his own course, the bureaucracy felt out Stalin himself.  He brought it all the necessary guarantees: the prestige of an Old Bolshevik, a strong character, narrow vision, and close bonds with the political machine as the sole source of his influence.  The success which fell upon him was a surprise at first to Stalin himself.”115

Stalin “was dependent on the system created under his administration, and on the opinions of the party oligarchy”, adds Djilas. “He could do nothing against them nor could he dispense with them.”116 From the moment of his rise to prominence, Stalin defended the pro-industrial party-state elite as though the revolution had occurred principally to serve their interests, which, in a Marxist-materialist sense, it had.

In Georgia, Mensheviks /came/ into power and persecuted Old Bolsheviks. While the men who had fought in 1917 were expelled from the Party—soon to be deported—newcomers, who had been counter-revolutionaries during the Civil War, carved out splendid careers for themselves by their zeal in approving the new leader.”117

“Under Stalin,” Serge argues, . . . the party became a mass of ideologically disinterested men, who got their ideas from above, but were wholehearted and unanimous in the defense of a system that assured them unquestionable privileges.”118 Stalin’s thermidor “stood for the crystallization of a new privileged stratum /and/ the creation of a new substratum for the economically dominant class.”119 “To guard the nationalization of the means of production and of the land,” observed Trotsky, “is the bureaucracy’s law of life and death, for these are the social sources of its dominant position.”120  “The weight of its responsibilities renders the bureaucracy implacable,” echoed Serge. “It must defend itself. . . . Its entire policy since the consecration of its power, has been aimed solely at the preservation of that power and has been dominated by fear and panic. The Stalinist bureaucracy no longer pursues the policies of the working class, but its own policies. This is the inner significance of its acts.”121

Djilas writes: “No other class in history has been as cohesive and singleminded in defending itself and in controlling that which it holds—collective and monopolistic ownership and totalitarian authority.122. . . A communist member of the new class also believes that without his Party society would regress and founder. . . . But he is not conscious of the fact that he belongs to a new ownership class, for he does not consider himself an owner and does not take account of the special privileges he enjoys.”123  “The leader who succeeds in getting to the top, along with his assistants, is the one who succeeds in most logically expressing and protecting the interests of the new class at any given time.”124

During the /early Stalinist/ period the kulak was allowed to rent his land from the poor peasant and to hire the poor peasant as his laborer.  Stalin was getting ready to lease the land to private owners for a perior of forty years. . . .  The kulak, jointly with the petty industrialist, worked for the complete restoration of capitalism.

“In Marx’s letter concerning the Gotha program of the German Social Democracy, Stalin found a phrase to the effect that during the first period of Socialism inequality will still be preserved, or as he expressed /it/, the bourgeois prerogative in the sphere of distribution. . . . /The bureaucracy/ charged that the Left Opposition was trying to deprive qualified labor of the higher wage to which it was rightfully entitled. . . . With unbridled cynicism, equality was denounced as a petty bourgeois prejudice . . .  The struggle against equality welded the bureaucracy more strongly than ever not only to the agrarian and urban petty-bourgeoisie but to the labor aristocracy as well.”125

Until 1928, Stalin’s policies succeeded in maintaining the socio-economic existence of nearly everyone, including the majority of peasants and workers; though for many this existence continued to be miserable by any humane standard. But then the world economy entered the outer rim of the Great Depression, and Russia, being an economically weaker, only partially industrialized nation, began to feel the savagery of its grip before Japan and highly developed western nations.  Suddenly it became necessary for a large segment of Soviet society to be expropriated if the remainder were to be sustained.

To take on the proindustrial bureaucracy would be a major, and in many respects an immediately self-defeating effort for workers.  Factories would close and the functioning of Soviet society would grind to a halt as the management abilities and technical skills of this nouveau elite were removed.  Conversely, the bureaucracy needed the workers if its own social existence was to be protected.  Under the circumstances, the peasant masses were foredoomed.

“In order to feed the cities, it was necessary immediately to take from the kulak the daily bread.  This could be achieved only by force.”126

“When the kulak began directly to threaten the bureaucracy itself, it turned its weapons against the kulak.  The panic of aggression against the kulak, spreading also to the middle peasant, was no less costly to the economy than a foreign invasion.  But the bureaucracy . . . defended its position.”127

“/A/fter the Great Slump . . .the terms of trade turned sharply against the Soviet Union.” “The value of Soviet exports shrank to one-third and that of imports to one-fourth between 1930 and 1935. Part of this fall was due to adverse trade terms.”128

“In January 1928 the working class stood faced with the shadow of advancing famine.”129 In February Stalin directed a full-scale attack upon the peasantry, a procedure which entailed prompt and wide-reaching collectivisation.  Stalin, who had villified Trotsky as anti-kulak, pragmatically apolitical Stalin, now used the word kulak to identify as an enemy almost anyone with a couple of pigs or a cow.

“Almost every village became a battlefield in a class war, the like of which had never been seen before, a war which the collectivist state waged, under Stalin’s supreme command, in order to conquer rural Russia and her stubborn individualism.”130

“These years are a nightmare.  Famine comes to the Ukraine, the Black lands, Siberia, to all the Russian granaries.  Thousands of peasants flee across the frontiers to Poland, Rumania, Persia, or China. They escape.  . . .  For the theft of a sheaf of wheat from a kolkoz: the death penalty.  By virtue of the decree of August 7, 1932, socialist property is declared sacred; its theft is punished by death.”131

And there was no one to whom the peasants might turn for help. “The peasants say with right: ‘The army is well fed and dressed; it will not support us.”132

Confronted with expropriation, many peasants attempted to slaughter and sell what they could of their livestock.

Collectivization appeared to the peasant in the form of an expropriation of all his belongings. They collectivized not only horses, cows, sheep, pigs, but even new-born chickens. . . .  As a result there was an epidemic selling of cattle for a song by the peasants, or a slaughter of cattle for meat and hides.”133

“Men, women, and children gorged themselves, vomited, and went back to the fleshpots. . . . People suffocated with the stench of rotting meat, with the vapours of vodka, . . .  Such was often the scene upon which a brigade of collectivizers descended to interrupt the grim carouse with the rattle of machine-guns; they executed on the spot or dragged away the crapulous enemies of collectivization and announced that henceforth all remaining villagers would, as exemplary members of the kolkhoz, strive only for the triumph of socialism in agriculture. . . . In 1931 and 1932 vast tracts of land remained untilled and the furrows were strewn with the bodies of starved muzhiks.”134

Peasants who sent their small children out to the field to “steal” an ear or two of corn, thinking the collectivizers would not kill children, often found their bodies lying between the rows.

Simultaneous with the forced collectivization and expropriation of the peasantry, the pace of industrialization was accelerated. “Self-satisfied quietism was replaced by a panic of haste.”135

While millions of peasants starved, vast quantities of their expropriated foodstuffs were sold to Europe in order to obtain the money needed to maintain the social existence of the elites and speed up industrial development.

Although factory workers did not suffer and die like the peasants, they, too, felt the growing crisis. “‘They are squeezing us and how!,’” one worker wrote to Serge. “‘Twenty-five percent increase in the productivity of labor and 1.9 percent increase in wages.  For three years wages have not varied, though production has very much increased.'”136

However, since factory workers were the primary source of the elite’s largesse, their interests were given second priority during the years of international depression, and most workers comprehended the favored treatment they received.  Along with the speed-up of industrialization an elite corps of workers was created.  Called Stakhanovites, they were given special rewards. Recognizing Stalin’s policies were preserving their social existence during a time of terrible crisis (never mind that millions of peasants were being destroyed in the process), many workers joined the bureaucracy in building a cult of worship around their sturdy helmsman.

Two million workers in White Russia sign/ed/ a message in verse addressed to the beloved leader:

O wise master, genius of geniuses!

Sun of the workers!

Sun of the peasants.

Sun of the world!

Power of rivers,

Glory and pride of labor!”

“Peter Vetchora, the Ukranian poet, exclaims:

Stalin’s greatness is a halo

Around the constellations of the firmament,

Around men and factories.

“The poet Kabard:

Stalin, thou golden sun, thy name

Speaks the death of our enemies . . . “137

This was 1936. “In Moscow, a market woman was arrested for saying that he was the people’s misfortune.”138 Tens of thousands were being placed in slave labor camps for the slightest hint of opposition.

Four to five thousand Oppositionists were arrested between 1928 and 1930.  The number of suspects was even higher.  After 1934 and the assassination of Kirov by a young Leningrad communist, communists and other suspects were herded into captivity by tens and more probably hundreds of  thousands. With this labor, excluded from the benefits of the Labor Code, canals are dug, strategic roads built.  Several hundred thousands of prisoners worked on the Baltic-White Sea Canal.  How many of them died in the process?  The official writers do not tell us.”139

Human personalities becomes more sharply defined during crises which have the dimensions of the one the Soviet Union was enduring.  Serge refers to such emergencies as “an hour when the redeeming choice between cowardice and courage is possible.”140 Though they constituted a small minority of the population, there were thousands of Russians of profound courage and integrity who forfeited everything–including their lives–in opposition to Stalin-ism; Russians whose courageous acts will strengthen the resolve of other opponents of oppression in other times and other places.

Kote Tsintsadze, a prominent Oppositionist who suffered jail and torture, was one of the many who gave his life. “Ill with tuberculosis, suffering from hemorrhages of the lungs, he fought on, went on hunger strikes, and died in pris-on. /Before his death Tsintsadze wrote to Trotsky:/ ‘Many, very many of our friends and of the people close to us will have to … end their lives in prison or somewhere in deportation. Yet in the last resort this will be an enrichment of revolutionary history: a new generation will learn the lesson.'”141

From his exile in Tara, Muralov wrote to Trotsky: “I capitulate?  I shall die, but I shall never capitulate.  They can draw and quarter me, but I shall not capitulate.  Even if I remain alone I shall not capitulate. . . .  They shall not make liars out of us or drive us to passivity.”142

Late in November of 1927 Adolf Abramovich Yoffe committed suicide.  Sick, a disciple of Trotsky, forbidden by Stalin to leave the country, refused medical assistance, convinced that in his physical condition he could only prove a burden to the Opposition, he shot himself in the head.  In a farewell message to Trotsky, Yoffe said:

All my life I have been convinced that the revolutionary politician should know when to make his exit and that he should make it in time. . . . when he becomes aware that he can no longer be useful to the cause he has served.  It is more than thirty years since I embraced the view that human life has sense only insofar as it is spent in the service of the infinite–and for us mankind is the infinite. To work for any finite purpose–and everything else is finite—is meaningless.”143

Several noted Russian artists also chose suicide over capitulation:

Sergei Yessenin, a lyrical poet, opened the funereal series: Andrei Sobol, prosaist and tormented revolutionist, followed him; Mayakovsky, social poet, renowned, rich, and loaded with honors, blew out his brains a few days after having adhered to the party’s general line in literature. /Mayakovsky actually shot himself in the heart./ Young ones like Victor Dmitriev, passed away without noise . . . “144

/E/ven after all the surrenders there were still unrepentent Oppositionists in the prisons and places of deportation; and in the early nineteen-thirties, while Rakovsky guided them, their ranks were at times reinforced by new adherents and by the return of capitulators disillusioned with surrender.”145

“From exile Trotsky repeatedly implored the Stalinist Politbureau to call a halt to the barbarous warfare against rural barbarism, and to revert to the more civilized and humane course of action to which their Marxist-Leninist heritage committed them.”146

Oppositionists of lesser mettle expressed regret for not going along with Stalin, or tried to make their peace the moment they realized  he would be victorious over Trotsky.

Radek packed his books, with the intention of selling them; and, handing out to those around him volumes of German poetry as souvenirs, muttered sarcastically: ‘Haven’t we been idiots!  We are left penniless when we could have prepared a nice war chest.  Lack of money is killing us. With our famous revolutionary probity we have been but feckless intellectuals full of scruples . . . ‘”147

As early as November, 1927, Zinoviev and Kamenev urged Trotsky: “Lev Davidovich . . . the time has come when we must have the courage to surrender.”148 In defense of their surrender, Zinoviev and Kamenev reasoned: “We must cling at the helm. This can only be done by supporting Stalin.  We must not hesitate to pay him the price he demands”.149

“Smilga, an Oppositionist ‘capitulator’ . . . said: ‘We must retreat, surrender for the present, and when the masses awaken, we shall put ourselves at their head. . . .  Zinoviev often said the same thing: we must remain within the party, even ‘flat on our belly in the mud,’ in order to be there on the day of the great awakening of the working masses, and not, by acting outside of the party, play into the hands of the counter-revolution”.150

Abandoning their revolutionary values in an effort to preserve life and position, many, including Zinoviev and Kamenev, did “crawl on their bellies in the mud.” But in most cases even that failed to save them.

No sooner had Zinoviev and Kamenev announced their capitulation than the ruling factions declared that they did not accept it, and that the capitulators must fully repudiate their ideas and recant . . .  On 18 December /1927/ Zinoviev returned and knocked at the doors of the congress to say that they condemned their own views as ‘wrong and anti-Leninist.’ . . .  But Stalin and the majority, drunk with jubilation, went on to kick the prostrated.  They refused to reinstate them even after the recantation.”151

In their effort to “keep a grip on the helm,” Kamenev and Zinoviev watched the peasant massacre in silence.  Yet, Stalin was not willing to take a chance even on these two pliable Old Bolsheviks.  In 1936 they were executed along with countless others as “agents of German fascism/accomplices of Trotsky.”

The bureaucracy and the military continued to be sparsely populated with equalitarian Old Bolsheviks, who might at some point permit themselves to recognize the fascist drift of events, so many of them would have to be killed.  Their trials and liquidation were used to justify the argument that a dire threat existed, a threat severe enough to necessitate the vast concentration camp complex.

Victor Kravchenko, a former high Stalinist official who survived the purges and escaped abroad, reports in his book, I Chose Freedom, that the victims numbered as many as ‘nine or ten million, including 60 to 80 percent of the top leaders of the Party, the Consomols, the armed forces, the government, industry, farming and national culture.’ The slave labor armies of the GPU swelled to unknown size.  Some estimates of their number go as high as fifteen, twenty million, even more.”152

“The vast purges mark times of sharp danger to its existence which the bureaucracy sought to overcome by stricter consolidation around the personal dictatorship of Stalin.”153  “The Red Army was decimated . . .  In 1937 the entire leading staff from Marshall Tukhachevsky down were shot without the pretense of an open trial.”154 At the 1936 Moscow trial, prosecutor Andrei Vyshinsky “hints at one of the political motives behind the trial: ‘It is now clear,’ he reported, ‘why there are interruptions of supplies here and there, why, with our riches and abundance of products, there is a shortage first of one thing, then of another. It is these traitors who are responsible for it.’”155

The meaning of the purge trials of 1936 and 1937 is dramatically revealed by noting the identities of the accusers and the accused.  Of the 1936 trial Joseph Hansen reports:

Among the prisoners sat Gregory Zinoviev, Leon Kamenev, I.N. Smirnov, S.V. Mrachkovsky, G. Yevdokimov, V. Ter-Vaganyan, Ivan Bakayev and Y. Dreitser. They were outstanding figures in Lenin’s ‘general staff’ which led the November 1917 revolution in Russia, cofounders of both the Bolshevik Party and the Communist International, men who held the highest Soviet posts.  Against them as prosecutor stood Andrei Vyshinsky, a former member of the counter-revolutionary, right-wing Menshevik opposition to Lenin’s regime in the early days.”156

Max Shachtman observed:

Volumes are said by the fact that among the accused there is not to be found a single former kulak, manufacturer, banker, Czarist, White Guard, Menshevik, Social Revolutionary, anarchist, or any other one-time opponent of the Russian Revolution and the Soviet Regime.  Not a single one!  All of them . . . are tried and true Old Bolsheviks.”157

Trotsky made the same observation respecting the purge trials of 1937. “Who are the principal defendents?” he asked. His answer:

Old Bolsheviks, builders of the party, of the Soviet State, of the Red Army, of the Communist International.  Who is the accuser against them?  Vyshinsky, bourgeois lawyer, who called himself a Menshevik after the October Revolution and joined the Bolsheviks after their definitive victory. . . .  The former editor of Pravda, Bukharin, is arrested. The pillar of Pravda is now Koltzov, bourgeois feuilletonist, who remained throughout the civil war in the camp of the Whites.  Sokolnikov, a participant in the October Revolution and the civil war, is condemned as a traitor.  Rakovsky awaits accusation.  Sokolnikov and Rakovsky were ambassadors to London. Their place is now occupied by Maisky, Right Menshevik, who during the civil war was a minister of the White government in Kolchak’s territory.  Troyanovsky, Soviet ambassador to Washington, treats the Trotskyists as counter-revolutionaries.  He himself during the first years of the October Revolution was a member of the Central Committee of the Mensheviks and joined the Bolsheviks only after they began to distribute attractive posts.  Before becoming ambassador, Sokolnikov was people’s commissar of finance.  Who occupies that post today?  Grinko, who in common with the White Guards struggled in the Committee of Welfare during 1917-18 against the Soviets. One of the best Soviet diplomats was Joffee, first ambassador to Germany, who was forced to suicide by the persecutions. Who replaced him in Berlin?  First the repented Oppositionist Krestinsky, then Khinchuk, former Menshevik, a participant in the counter-revolutionary Committee of Welfare, and finally, Suritz, who also went through 1917 on the other side of the barricades.  I could prolong this list indefinitely.”158

With the Moscow trials and the slave labor camp formation in the mid and late 1930s the last revolutionary impulse was exorcised from the Soviet system.  The Stalinist bureaucracy had succeeded in turning Marxism-Leninism on its head and there would be no  further threats to the nascent industrial-elite productive order.  Henceforth the Party would automatically provide the new state-capitalist elite protection.  Like Christianity and other revolutionary-equalitarian philosophies before it, the Soviet Union’s brand of Marxism had now been transformed into a justification for the grossest inequalities and a defensive strategy for those who profited from that inequality.

In Conclusion

A theory has value only insofar as it facillitates the ordering of experience; i.e., only insofar as it leads to an understanding of what Marx called the “natural necessity” of events.  Ironically, Trotsky, along with other self-described Marxist scholars, found it impossible to make any material sense of the Russian Revolution’s aftermath, particularly the Stalin phenomenon. Of the latter, Trotsky mused:

It remains of course incomprehensible, at least with a rational approach to history, how and why a faction the least rich of all in ideas, and the most burdened with mistakes, should have gained the upper hand over all other groups, and concentrated an unlimited power in its hands.”159

Isaac Deutscher said of Trotsky:

He did not and could not satisfactorily explain the change in the climate of the revolution which made his defeat both possible and inevitable; and his account of the intrigues by which a narrow-minded ‘usurpatory’ and malignant bureaucracy ousted him from power is obviously inadequate.”160

Deutscher, an avid admirer of Trotsky, is himself perplexed by Stalin’s easy success. “Tsardom had failed to stifle any opposition, even though it imprisoned, deported and executed the revolutionaries,” he reflects. “Why then should Stalin, who was not yet executing his opponents, succeed where the Tsars had failed?”161

Deutscher is puzzled by other features of the Russian Revolution as well. “How is one to account . . . for the abysmal wickedness and moral depravity which has revealed itself in the Bolshevik party,” he asks, “a party that had consisted of honest, dedicated, and courageous revolutionaries?”  “It was not enough to blame the ruling group or the bureaucracy,” he concedes. “The deeper cause was the ‘apathy of the masses and the indifference of the victorious working class after the revolution.”162

But, using “apathy” to explain Stalinism does not demonstrate the natural necessity of that tragic event, and Deutscher is unable to identify any material reason for the apathy.  He writes:

Marxists had tacitly assumed that once the working class achieved the social self-integration and political awareness that made it a ‘class for-itself’ it would maintain itself indefinitely in that position and would not sink back into immaturity.  Instead, the working class of Russia, having overthrown the Tsar, the landlords, and the capitalists, relapsed into the inferior condition of a class unconscious of its interests and inarticulate.”163

On the other hand, if one reasons from Marx’s basic proposition that all politics, including revolution, is conservative of social existence, it is a simple matter to expose the natural necessity of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath, answering the questions posed by Trotsky and Deutscher.

The Russian revolution occurred because Tsarist Russia’s feudal socio-economic-political order was no longer able to preserve the socio-economic existence of that country’s large and growing population.  Since people follow the path of minimum difficulty when it comes to maintaining their social existence, prior to 1917 the majority of Russians did it by struggling against one another.  With the total collapse of the economy in 1917, that option was no longer available.  For the majority, defending their social existence now required dismantling the feudal-elite structure and building an industrial replacement.

However, once the old framework had been razed and its industrial-elite successor was being constructed, it again became the path of least pain for most Russians to secure their status by struggling with each other.

As in every nonegalitarian society, whatever it may call its political philosophy, the Russians who sought, gained and used the predominant amounts of political power were individuals with  hegemonic statuses to protect.  Some proindustrial bureaucrats were children of Tsarist bureaucrats.  Many had been members of the Tsarist bureaucracy themselves.  As late as the mid-1930s, in large cities, over 50 percent of the bureaucrats had been in office before the revolution.  Having an elite status to defend, the bureaucrats fought with a vigor and a brutality which preserving their lowly social existence did not require peasants, soldiers and workers to match.

None of us is born with an assurance that at some point our expressed values and our lives will not become mutually exclusive.  Finding their equalitarian values increasingly inimical to leadership after 1917, particularly after 1921, most Bolsheviks decided to place those values in storage and become reactionary, non-egalitarians, convincing themselves of the mind-numbing contradiction that they were doing it in behalf of building an eventual classless society. Thus did they preserve their favored socio-economic existence.

Many of the more rigidly moral Old Bolsheviks, Trotsky among them, soon fell by the wayside.

When in 1928 a new disaster struck in the form of an international depression, the Soviet Union’s economy was dealt a staggering blow.  Since the new bureaucracy was proindustrial, the least costly alternative for the majority of people was to maintain their social existence by destroying a huge portion of the peasantry, along with any recalcitrants among their own numbers.  And so it was done.

Whenever maintaining the social existence of a nation’s majority leads to the annihilation of a weaker element at home or abroad we refer to it as “fascism.”  Stalin’s regime was a classic example, akin to Naziism in Germany, and, in terms of the number of lives taken, considerably worse.  Many of the Old Guard Bolsheviks had humanistic predilections and could not be trusted.  Therefore, they, too, were eliminated.

When the Soviet Union’s crisis became so profound that the new elite and the majority could only be socio-economically sustained through the use of slave labor, that labor was provided by labelling Stalin’s detractors, real or imagined, “reactionaries” and sentencing them to work camps.

Perhaps the most fundamental contradiction in the Marxist intellectuals’ position was that they wished to constitute a government which was truly “of the people.” As Marx understood, and consistently argued, given the conservative character of political activity, no one can ever perform that task except the people.  A ”vanguard party” will always be the captive of those who exert primary political force, which will inevitably be the community’s socio-economic elites. The Cohn-Bendits argued that principle well when they wrote: “Democracy is not suborned by bad leadership but by the very existence of leadership.”164 The Russian experience provides a lesson to be remembered by all industrial-elite nation populations, as the world moves toward that point when some of their numbers will discover they can only be socio-economically sustained by the sudden creation of genuinely equalitarian systems.

Marx contended that elite elements within every progressive revolutionary community spontaneously create a political philosophy which enables them to justify taking control following the revolution.  Russia’s Marxist intellectuals provided a sterling illustration of Marx’s point by transforming his materialistic and relativistic theory into an absolutistic and idealistic rationale for a new, state-capitalist elite to wield authority over Soviet society in the name of classlessness.

Had they looked, Russia’s Marxist intellectuals would have discovered materialist explanations for their own behavior as well as the course of their revolution in Marx’s writings.  But, like their counterparts in the West, Russian “communists” found it more expedient to create their “Marxism” out of Hegelian cloth, and leave their prophet thrashing in his grave.


1.   Frederick Engels, The Peasant War in Germany.

2.   Leon Trotsky, Stalin: An appraisal of the man and his influence, New York: The Universal Library, Grosset & Dunlap, 1941, pp392-3.

3. E.H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. I, Baltimore,

Maryland: Penguin Books, 1950, p. 65.

4.  Ibid.

5. Ibid., p. 73.

6. Alfred G. Meyer, Leninism, Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., New

York: 1962, p. 169.

7. Christopher Hill, Lenin and the Russian Revolution, Middlesex,

England: Penguin Books Ltd., 1971, p. 156.

8. John Reed, Ten Days that Shook the World, New York: Signet

Books, The New American Library, 1967, p. 29.

9. E.H. Carr, op. cit., p. 90.

10. V.I. Lenin, State and Revolution, in James E. Conner, ed.,

Lenin on Politics and Revolution, New York: Pegasus, 1968,

pp. 191, 200.

11. Ibid., p. 200.

12. Ibid., p. 221.

13. Ibid., p. 209.

14. Meyer, op. cit., p. 201.

15. Leon Trotsky, Leon Trotsky Speaks, New York: Pathfinder

Press Inc., 1972, p. 72.

16. E.H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. II, Baltimore,

Maryland: Penguin Books, 1952, pp. 185-6.

17. Reed, op. cit., p. 57.

18. Quoted in Meyer, op. cit., p. 42.

19. Victor Serge, From Lenin to Stalin, New York: Monad Press

(Pathfinder Press), 1973, p. 30.

20. Anatoly Vasilievich Lunacharsky, Revolutionary Silhouettes,

New York: Hill & Wang, 1968, p. 50.

21. Ibid.

22. Sarah Lovell, in Leon Trotsky Speaks, op. cit., p. 93.

23. Quoted in Reed, op. cit., p. 264.

24. Leon Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, New York: Pathfinder

Press, Inc., 1972, p. 25.

25. Ibid., p. 22.

26. Hill, op. cit., p. 77.

27. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. II, op. cit., p. 129.

28. Ibid., p. 151.

29. Ibid., pp. 196, 198.

30. Ibid., pp. 171, 173.

31. Ibid., p. 197.

32. Serge, op. cit., p. 33.

33. Hill, op. cit., p. 133.

34. Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, Vol. II, New York:

Vintage Books, 1959, p. 17.

35. Leon Trotsky, Stalin, op. cit., p. 385.

36. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. II, op. cit., p. 190.

37. Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, op. cit., p. 21.

38. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. II, op. cit., p. 55.

39. Trotsky, Leon Trotsky Speaks, op. cit., pp. 109-10.

40. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. II, op. cit., pp. 117-18.

41. Hill, op. cit., p. 139.

42. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. I, op. cit., pp. 195, 202,


43. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. II, op. cit., p. 115.

44. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. I, op. cit., pp. 203-4.

45. Quoted in: Daniel and Gabriel Cohn-Bendit, Obsolete

Communism: The Left-Wing Alternative, McGraw-Hill Book

Co., New York: 1968, p. 232.

46. Milovan Djilas, The New Class, New York: Praeger Paperback,

1957, p. 15.

47. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. I, op. cit., p. 184.

48. Hill, op. cit., p. 126.

49. Sam Dolgoff et al., Bakunin on Anarchy, New York: Vintage

Books, 1971, p. xxii.

50. Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, op. cit., p. 12.

51. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. II, op. cit. p. 97.

52. Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, Vol II, op. cit., p. 7.

53. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. II, op cit., p. 76.

54. Deutscher, Vol. II, op. cit., p. 4; See also: Hill, op. cit., p. 132.

55. Ibid., p. 5.

56. Serge, op. cit., p. 35.

57. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. I, op. cit., pp. 183-4.

58. See: Harold Shukman, Lenin and the Russian Revolution, New

York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1967, p. 199; Also: Serge, op. cit.,

p. 33; Cohn-Bendit, op. cit., pp. 220-45.

59.  Ibid.

60 . Leszek Kolakowski, Marxism and Beyond, London: Paladin

Press, 1969, p. 92.

61.  Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. I, op. cit., pp. 216-17.

62. Trotsky, Trotsky Speaks, op. cit., p. 173.

63. Shukman, op. cit., p. 200.

64. Trotsky, Stalin, op. cit., p. 405.

65. Serge, op. cit., pp. 38-40.

66. Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, op. cit., pp. 25-6.

67. Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, Vol. II, op. cit., p. 22.

68. Ibid.

69. Ibid., pp. 30-1.

70. Ibid., p. 44.

71. Serge, op. cit., p. 40.

72. Trotsky, Stalin, op. cit., p. 405.

73. Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, Vol. II, op. cit., p. 36.

74. Meyer, op. cit., p. 214.

75. Ibid.

76. Serge, op. cit., p. 44.

77. Ibid., p. 40.

78. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. II, op. cit., pp. 175-6.

79. Hill, op. cit., p. 144.

80. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. I, op. cit., p. 233.

81. Moshe Lewin, Lenin’s Last Struggle, New York: Vintage

Books, 1970, p. 4.

82. Ibid., p. xii.

83. Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, op. cit., p. 69.

84. Meyer, op. cit., pp. 214-15.

85. Trotsky, Stalin, op. cit., p. 375.

86. Ibid.

87. Ibid., p. 377.

88. Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, Vol. II, op. cit., p. 74.

89. Ibid., p. 93.

90. Ibid., p. 104.

91. Ibid., p. 105.

92. Ibid.

93. Ibid., p. 106.

94. Ibid., p. 107.

95. Ibid.

96. Ibid., p. 111.

97. Sarah Lovell, Trotsky Speaks, op. cit., p. 174.

98. Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, Vol, II, op. cit., p. 152.

99. Ibid., p. 122.

100. Ibid., p. 373.

101. Ibid., p. 283.

102. Ibid., p. 377.

103. Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, op. cit., p. 92.

104. Trotsky, Stalin, op. cit., p. 387.

105. Serge, op. cit., p. 51.

106. Quoted in: Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, Vol. II. op. cit.,

p. 310.

107. Ibid., p. 309.

108. Ibid., pp. 281-2.

109. Serge, op. cit., p. 48.

110. Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, Vol. II, op. cit., p. 366.

111. Ibid., p. 246.

112. Djilas, op. cit., p. 50.

113. Trotsky, op. cit., p. 393.

114. Leon Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, New York:

Doubleday Anchor, 1959, p. 301.

115. Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, op. cit., p. 93.

116. Djilas, op. cit., p. 83.

117. Serge, op. cit., p. 51.

118. Ibid., pp. 48, 59.

119. Trotsky, Stalin, op. cit., p. 408.

120.  Ibid.

121.  Serge, op. cit., p. 59.

122. Djilas, op. cit., p. 59.

123. Ibid.

124. Ibid., p. 81.

125. Trotsky, Stalin, op. cit., pp. 396-7, 407.

126. Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, op. cit., p. 36.

127. Ibid., p. 273.

128. Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast, Vol. III, New York:

Vintage Books, 1963, p. 103.

129. Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, op. cit., p. 33.

130. Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast, Vol. III, op. cit., p. 91.

131. Serge, op. cit., p. 60.

132. Ibid., p. 63.

133. Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, op. cit., p. 39.

134. Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast, Vio. III, op. cit., pp. 118-19.

135. Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, op. cit., p. 35.

136. Serge, op. cit., p. 63.

137. Ibid., pp. 104-5.

138. Ibid., p. 108.

139. Ibid., p. 69.

140. Serge, op. cit., p. 142.

143. Ibid., pp. 78-9.

144. Ibid., p. 142.

145. Deutscher, Vol. III, op. cit., p. 124.

146. Ibid., p. 106.

147. Deutscher, Vol. II, op. cit., p. 380.

148. Ibid., p. 384.

149. Serge, op. cit., p. 98.

150. Ibid., p. 86.

151. Deutscher, Vol. II, op. cit., pp. 387, 389.

152. Joseph Hansen, in Leon Trotsky, Stalin’s Frame-Up System

and the Moscow Trials, New York: Pioneer Publishers, 1950,

p. xiii.

153. Ibid., p. xvii.

154. Ibid., p. xiii.

155. Ibid., p. viii.

156. Ibid.

157. Max Shachtman, Behind the Moscow Trial, New York:

Pioneer Publishers, 1936, pp. 20-1.

158. Trotsky, Trotsky Speaks, op. cit., p. 292.

159. Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, op. cit.

160. Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, Volume I, New York,

Vintage Books, 1954, p. vii.

161. Deutscher, Vol. III, op. cit., p. 9.

162. Deutscher, Vol. II, op. cit., p. 436.

163. Deutscher, Vol. III, op. cit., p. 116.

164. Cohn-Bendit, op. cit., p. 250.

To Lead the People: Notes on the Russian Revolution: Part I

A historical work only then completely fulfills its mission when events unfold upon its pages in their full natural necessity.  Leon Trotsky

We have to make the ossified conditions dance by singing them their own melody! We have to cause the people to be frightened by their own image, in order to give them courage. Karl Marx

The Material Dynamics of the Russian Revolution

Like earthquakes, revolutions are dramatic events that are notably slow in the making; products of an ever-so-gradual accumulation of unrelieved stresses and strains which suddenly burst constricting boundaries and establish new ones in the reachievement of homeostatic balance.

The Russian Revolution was like that.  Russia had been in a state of chronic crisis for over a century.  Mild social tremors had periodically shaken the nation for half that time.  Intellectuals had been talking and writing about revolution throughout the same period.  Some spoke with fear in their voices, some with anticipation, others with a bit of both.  Even those who did not talk of revolution nevertheless sensed that something was terribly amiss.

If one had to give a unicausal reply to the question: “Why did it happen?,” the answer would be that for the multitude survival itself had finally come to necessitate the economic, social and political overthrow of the preindustrial elite which dominated the country.  Milovan Djilas made that observation, writing: “The basic reason – the vital need for industrial change – was common to all the countries such as Russia, China and Yugoslavia, where revolution took place.”1

For many Russians, it was becoming a question of industrialize or die.  In such a situation, Djilas remarks, “People never die willingly; they are ready to undergo any sacrifice to overcome the difficulties which stand in the way of their economic production and their existence.”2 Leon Trotsky frequently noted this fundamental feature of Russia’s Revolution.  It seemed, he said, “a reproduction in the twentieth century of those convulsions which England had suffered through in the middle of the seventeenth century and France at the end of the eighteenth century.”3 Elsewhere Trotsky observed: “The basis of the revolution was the agrarian problem: the antique land system, the traditional power of the landlords, the close ties between the landlord and the local administration.”4

Although he never fully explored the idea in his voluminous writings, Trotsky, like Djilas, was also cognizant of the emergency nature of the revolution. “A revolution,” he reflected, “takes place only when there is no other way out.”5 “Peoples never resort to suicide. When their burdens are intolerable, they seek a way out through revolution.”6 “It is enough to remember that nowhere and never was the transition from the feudal to the bourgeois regime made without disturbances.”7

Like other Russian Marxists, and like Marx, by a feudal society Trotsky meant one dominated by a land-holding elite that derived and maintained hegemony through its control of agricultural and raw-material production.  For Marx, the progressive (vis-a-vis the feudal order) bourgeois-democratic (capitalist) society was one in which the new elite’s status obtains from its control of finance and industrial production.

One way to illustrate the fundamental character of Russia’s pre-revolutionary crisis is to note that if citizens of an industrial-elite society like the United States elected to adopt a feudal productive system they would have to kill off a significant portion of their numbers.  Simply to feed, let alone provide clothing and housing and meet general medical requirements for 300-plus million people, presupposes a highly sophisticated industrial technology.  The process works both ways.  When a confined population grows to a certain point, socio-economic preservation/survival, demands that industrialization be undertaken.

Seventy or so years before the revolution Russia was a typical feudal society, with a dominant landlord class, a clergy and a military tied in interest and attitude to the landlords, and a mass peasant population.  The latter, the bulk of the population, were as controlled and confined in their daily lives as have been serfs everywhere.   Their masters could beat, maim, even kill them with relative impunity.  A troublesome serf could be sent off to serve in the military for up to twenty-five years merely at his master’s discretion.  To distinguish between the life of a slave and that of the average Russian serf would entail making fine distinctions.

As the Russian population grew in the 19th century it became impossible for the feudal structure to assimilate the fast-growing numbers.  Many individuals, more each day, would have to accept socio-economic diminishment if the agricultural-elite framework was not to be dismantled.

Initially, this meant the serfs.  Having the least socio-economic status to protect, Russian peasants had always sought, and in the developing crisis were able to exercise, the least political power.  Controlled by the landlords, clergy and military, the established political institutions were now used to facilitate a dispossession of the serfs. Various mechanisms were employed, chief among them the “freeing” of the serfs in 1861.

Prior to that time serfs enjoyed certain minimum rights to land usage. Their lords were also responsible for providing them with the basics of life: housing, clothing, firewood and food.  Under the changing circumstances, with not only the serf population but that of the aristocracy increasing rapidly, continuing such practices meant the lords would themselves have to accept a goodly portion of the unavoidable diminishment.  To prevent this, they “freed” their charges.

Henceforth, former serfs could be charged for basic necessities. And they could be driven from lands which the feudal lords needed to preserve the socio-economic status of their own multiplying numbers of sons and daughters.  After 1861 “the peasants eventually found themselves in some ways worse off than they were before.”8 In area after area land was taken from them.  In Saratov, for example, the peasants wound up with less than half the land they had formerly tilled. In the Volga provinces, all of the peasants were able to farm less than was previously worked by two-thirds of their number.9

Freeing the serfs worked to preserve the social existence of elite Russian elements in yet another way.  The former serfs provided a ready source of cheap labor for the cities.  Unable to sustain themselves in the countryside, many children of the feudal aristocracy were moving to the towns to undertake rudimentary, mostly extractive, industrial development.  Others promoted rail operations. “By the late 1880s trade was beginning to move on a colossal scale. In the Donets Basin a new mining industry was expanding, and peasants were migrating there in thousands in search of better wages and conditions . . . a whole new range of industries was springing up around the principal cities.”10 Whereas “in the first quarter of the 18th century the town population numbered somewhat more than 328,000,” by 1897 “the population of the towns numbered 16,289,000.”11

Russian Revolutionary Theory

Simultaneous with the beginning of extractive industrial development Russian political thought began to take on a Marxist coloration. As commercialization of the economy became the only means whereby a majority of the growing population might defend their socio-economic existence, sons and daughters of the elite, particularly children of the top-heavy bureaucratic elite, began to recognize the necessity for razing the country’s feudal structure and undertaking a concentrated industrial development.

In the early years of the crisis, many young people acted to preserve their social existence by fighting against industrialization. These were the Narodniks. “They called for the overthrow of the old regime, the expropriation of the landlords, and the establishment of some sort of peasant socialism based on the traditional Russian peasant commune.”12 While this would have maintained their own status, along with that of a minority, for the majority of Russians it would have been disastrous.  Most young intellectuals grasped that if their socio-economic status was to be maintained industrializing Russia was the only workable solution. Given the intransigence of the feudal-elite who would be expropriated in the process, that meant revolution.

Under the circumstances, for many young intellectuals Marxism had an understandable appeal.  Marx had declared feudalism was no longer viable in many countries.  Capitalism–the industrial-elite/bourgeois-democratic state–was its “natural and necessary” successor he had insisted.  “/That/ truth was acceptable to the nascent Russian middle class as an ideological reinforcement in the struggle against feudalism and autocracy.”13

Many college educated Russians were professionals: lawyers, teachers, chemists, doctors and engineers, for whom job opportunities were few.  As a consequence, a growing number of them took tentative steps in the direction of revolution.  They began to dream, plan and argue for it.  They became, in effect, social workers of revolution. (In a revolutionary era, those who play this “vanguard” role are the liberals of a nonrevolutionary time).  Among members of the intellectual city elite revolutionary ideas soon became quite respectable.  Anatoly Lunacharsky, a major figure in the Russian Revolution, had a rather typical experience:

I became, /he says/, a revolutionary so early in my life that I don’t even remember when I was not one.  My childhood passed under the strong influence of Alexander Ivanovich Antonov /his mother’s friend/ who, though an acting Privy Counsellor and head of the Control Chamber of Nizhi Novgorod, and then of Kursk . . . did not at all conceal his leanings towards radical and left aspirations.14

Many of the “revolutionary” Marxist intellectuals discovered that the easiest way to maintain their increasingly threatened social existence was by trying to organize themselves and workers for an eventual revolution.  “Russia’s factory-working class was scarcely born before it became the chosen vehicle of the revolutionary intelligentsia.”15 “In the 1880s, in various Russian towns, Marxist intellectuals began to set up small propaganda circles to educate workers.”16

Until the abortive revolution of 1905, the “revolutionary” intellectuals often found they could sustain themselves with “lavish donations from rich sympathizers” who had industrial interests they were having difficulty protecting within the feudal framework.17  Occasionally, wealthy individuals like the Moscow millionaire Morozov left their estates to the “revolutionaries.”18 In Morozov’s case his fortune was bequeathed to the Social Democratic Party from which the Bolshevik and Menshevik factions emerged in 1903.  (The Bolsheviks were subsequently accused of diverting Morozov’s funds to their own coffers.)  Georgi Plekhanov, Lenin’s mentor and founder of the first Marxist intellectual organization, the Emancipation of Labour Group, was “wholly dependent on funds raised within the movement, a situation which reinforced his sense of importance.”19

The reference to the Marxist intellectuals as social workers of revolution is apt.   As a job category, social work in industrial nations came into existence and grew as automation, and then cybernation, eliminated jobs of the middle and upper-middle classes.  Whereas its stated function has been to alleviate/eliminate poverty, in practice it has served chiefly to maintain the socio-economic status of the middle class segment who gave it birth and practice it so enthusiastically.  By the 1970s it had become a well-paying profession in the United States, one which provided the social workers not only socio-economic preservation but a sense of purpose and pride, an historic mission.  In like manner, the pro-industrial sons and daughters of the Russian upper-middle classes and elite bureaucrats assured themselves their “revolutionary” efforts were solely for the benefit of workers and peasants, whereas in actuality “revolutionary activism” had become a job category created by the deepening crisis confronting the intellectuals, and its benefits went almost exclusively to the intellectuals themselves.

Prior to 1917, before Russia’ chronic crisis became acute, workers and peasants usually found they could best preserve their socio-economic status by working within the existing institutional framework.  Revolutionary ideas therefore held little or no appeal for them. “During the early 1890s workers were staging strikes quite independently of the /Marxist intellectual circles/, of Marxist influence or even of the influence of the circle-educated elite. . . . It became almost impossible to bring Marxist influence to bear on the workers, who succeeded in winning ever more concessions from employers anxious to exploit the economic boom.”20  “Workers /correctly/ felt they were best equipped to look after their own interests.  The interference of the authorities or of the Marxist intellectuals introduced an entirely alien and undesirable element which could only diminish the prospects of industrial peace and better working conditions.”21

Throughout the pre-revolutionary period, the Marxist intellectuals and the workers and peasants whom they addressed showed almost no understanding of one anothers’ positions. The latter comprehended that to act upon the arguments of the Marxist intellectuals would not only fail to sustain them socio-economically it would embroil them in a struggle which might take countless numbers of their lives.  They were aware, too, that there was no small amount of hypocrisy in the intellectuals’ position.  Whereas they asked workers and peasants to forfeit much, many, their very existence, the intellectuals were not moving to set an example.

“/I/n accepting Marxism, the Russian middle-class intellectual emptied it of any immediate revolutionary content, so that the authorities, who still feared the Narodniks as the main revolutionary party, were not unwilling to tolerate these sworn enemies of the Narodniks whose own programme seemed to carry no immediate threat.”22

When repression was finally directed against the Marxist intellectuals, unlike workers and peasants most of them had sufficient money and connections to escape to Western Europe.  “/F/rom the middle of the 1890s under the combined impact of intensified police activity and a harsh reactionary attitude in the universities, young Russian students and revolutionaries began to leave Russia in large numbers to settle in the emigre colonies of the European university towns.”23

Given that the central function of politics is the preservation of socio-economic status, during this period workers and peasants understandably never comprehended that the intellectuals would eventually become right about their fundamental premise: revolution was going to be a necessity.

On their part, the Marxist intellectuals had a vested interest in remaining ignorant of the rationality of worker-peasant attitudes and behaviors.  Had they recognized that the revolutionary truths necessary for protecting their personal socio-economic existences, could not yet perform the same function for workers and peasants– and were therefore untrue for them–they would have abandoned the very rationale required for carrying out their revolutionary social worker activities.

In justifying their revolutionary social work, Russia’s Marxist intellectuals reflexively stretched and reworked the ideas of their prophet.  Lenin was one of the most adept at this.  Though forced by experience to accept that “the basic aim of planting even the seeds of political awareness in the working masses was almost as far from realization as it had been for the Populists of the seventies,” the intellectuals never questioned the rightness of their analyses for the masses.  Instead, they developed an elitist Hegelian understanding of the role of ideas in determining the course of history.  “/W/hereas Marx had believed in the spontaneous growth of working-class consciousness under the impact of capitalist realities, Lenin tended to assume that the workingman was forever doomed to insufficient consciousness, no matter how miserable his conditions.”25

Under Lenin’s direction:

“/T/he party seem/ed/ to negate the role attributed to the working-class by Marx, that of the chosen people who would destroy the social structure of capitalism and construct a socialist commonwealth.  Similarly, the importance that Lenin attach/ed/ to party doctine seem/ed/ to be opposed to original Marxist conceptions of the negligible role of ideas in history. . . .  /U/nlike Marx, he /Lenin/, did not generally attribute the attainment of consciousness to the working class at all. . . .  According to Leninism, the carriers of proletarian class consciousness were bourgeois intellectuals . . . who had been declassed and uprooted by acquiring an education.”26

“Lenin insisted and consistently argued in Iskra that ‘class political consciousness’ was not a ‘spontaneous’ growth, and could come to the worker only from without’”; from the Marxist intellectual vanguard.27  “’The history of all countries,’” Lenin intoned: “‘bears witness that by its own resources alone the working-class is in a position to generate only a trade-union consciousness, . . .  The teaching of socialism has grown out of philosophical, historical and economic theories worked out by educated representatives of the possessing classes, of the intelligentsia.  The founders of contemporary socialism, Marx and Engels, belonged themselves by their social origin to the bourgeois intelligentsia.  Similarly in Russia the theoretical teaching of social-democracy has arisen altogether independently of the spontaneous growth of the workers’ movement.'”  28

While Lenin was right about Marx being from the intelligentsia, rather than the working class, unlike Lenin, Marx never proposed to play the role of commander for a socialist revolution.  To the contrary, he focused instead on explaining why only the working masses would be able to conceptualize and carry out that transformation.  Marx had foretold that the working class, precisely because it was the most economically oppressed, would ultimately discover in its own experience the ideological understanding necessary for a socialist revolution.  The Russian intellectuals proposed workers were not up to the task, that a vanguard would have to make the discovery for them from its middle class experience.  E.H. Carr has noted the “faint aroma of condescension” (not so faint at that), in this position, an aroma which came through in the writings of Plekhanov and Lenin as well as the others.29 Certainly the material connection between the vanguard’s perspective and their elite, vis-a-vis workers and peasants, socio-economic status is apparent.

As the availability of jobs for the young Marxist intellectuals became increasingly restricted, it prompted them to make hesitant moves against the feudal order.  Whereupon the order’s representatives punished them with a variety of additional restraints, which usually had the effect of inflicting further socio-economic injury.  Predictably, that in turn inclined the intellectuals to take second and third steps in the direction of a social revolution.  This was especially the case with members of Russia’s Jewish community.

With few exceptions, Jews throughout feudal Europe had never been allowed to become large landholders; i.e., had not been permitted to enter the feudal aristocracy.  As a consequence, more than most Russians, they had found it necessary to survive by establishing factories and becoming financiers in the towns and cities.  Tied in interest to an industrial world, when Russia’s feudal order crisis began changing from chronic to acute, Jews naturally suffered greater socio-economic injury than other identifiable segments of the population.  Hence, a significant number of them became actively involved in the developing struggle.  As the feudal order was drained of viability and came under attack by pro-industrial elements, finding Jews a major force in the latter community, the landed aristocracy became increasingly anti-Semitic.

Historian Harold Shukman observes:

“Whether or not Alexander III believed the fantastic argument of his advisers that the Jews were behind the discontent of his subjects, he nonetheless opted for the policy that would eventually engender this belief in wide sections of the population.  First, violent pogroms were instigated and demonstratively tolerated by the authorities. . . . To Jewish economic ruin the government added, in 1887, restrictions on education which as much as poverty and civic humiliation fostered in the young an intense hatred of the regime.”30

Lenin’s personal history likewise provides dramatic evidence of the fundamental conservatism of Russia’s incipient anti-feudal revolution.  Lenin and his wife Krupskaya were “both children of reduced noble families.”31 When Lenin was seventeen years of age his brother was hanged for being involved with an assassination attempt on the Tsar.

Lenin’s mother:

“Had to go up to Petrograd alone to plead for her son’s life.  None of the respectable neighbors in Simbirsk would accompany her; it was socially bad and even perhaps politically dangerous to be associated with a case of the sort. The widow sat through the court hearing, saw her son for the last time before he died, and when she returned home she and her family were to some extent socially ostracized.”32

“The young Lenin’s promising educational prospects were disrupted by this event, for the university authorities at Kazan, where he began his law studies soon after his brother’s death, found an early opportunity to expel the bearer of the notorious name.”33

Lenin had been permitted to enter Kazan only on the strength of a letter from the director of his previous school testifying that he was a serious student who would give no trouble.  (Ironically, the letter was written by the father of Aleksandr Kerensky, head of the Provisional Government which the Bolsheviks would overthrow in October 1917). His expulsion came over a rather minor infraction of school rules on political activity. “Repeated requests by Lenin and his mother to regain admission to the university, or to go abroad to study, met with refusal, but by the end of 1891 he succeeded in gaining, with distinction, his law degree as an external student.”34 Acquiring the law degree a year and a half after being expelled from Kazan, “Lenin spent the next four years in forced idleness.  He engaged during this period in no gainful employment and lived entirely off his mother’s widow’s pension.”35 Although “a brilliant, hard-working student, a recent gold-medalist, he found himself condemned because of a minor breach of discipline to a parasitic existence without any hope of reprieve.”36

Martov, Lenin’s closest associate during his early years of revolutionary social work, had walked the same road.

“Martov had already served a short prison sentence in 1891 when his revolutionary views scarcely went beyond romantic protest.  Like Lenin, it was after his university career was cut off that he turned his considerable academic ability to a serious study of Marx and the Marxist writings filtering into Russia . . . “37

In the mid-1890s Martov,  Lenin and other Social Democrats worked enthusiastically in Petersburg to make inroads with the workers.  However, “the group was scarcely able to provoke activity on the factory floor, nor yet capable of exploiting existing strife.  Thus, strikes that took place and to which the group turned its attention were almost completely unaffected by its agitational literature.”38

Coming to the End of the Road

They had a limited and in many respects a bourgeois understanding of its dynamics.  They would drag their feet, even work against it when it arrived.  Yet, the Marxist intellectuals had caught a glimpse of future events which no one else, neither aristocrats, peasants nor workers was able (nor, if their socio-economic status was to be preserved, could afford) to see.  A mighty revolution was coming.  That it would prove to be not a socialist-equalitarian but a bourgeois-industrial-elite/capitalist revolution goes far toward explaining their clearer vision.

Following defeat in a war with Japan, in 1905 the Russian crisis reached a new extreme.  Tens-of-thousands of workers were suddenly ground out of the economy.  Others had to work 12 to 16 hour days for reduced wages.  As a result, virtually overnight workers surpassed the Marxist intellectuals in the fervor of their revolutionary activity, just as Marx’s theory regarding the conservative nature of all political activity would lead us to expect.

Equally predictable, given their more secure social existences, at this juncture the Marxist intellectuals, including the Bolsheviks, neither foresaw nor fully understood the spontaneous worker uprisings.  “It is a cliche in the histories of the /Bolshevik/ party that 1905 (like February 1917) took it by surprise.”39

Seizing the factories, workers began to govern themselves in mass-democratic organizations called “Soviets.” Leon Trotsky, who was active in St. Petersburg during the 1905 uprising, acknowledged of the Soviets: “These were not previously prepared conspirative organizations for the purpose of seizure of power by the workers at the moment of revolt.  No, these were organs created in a planned way by the masses themselves for the purpose of coordinating their revolutionary struggle.”40

But Russia’s feudal order of production had not yet exhaused its capacity to defend the socio-economic existence of the multitude, including workers, and there would be no immediate revolution.  Marx described people in community as always taking up those political attitudes and actions which, under existing circumstances, will maintain them with a minimum of pain, a minimum disruption of their lives.  His thesis provides a convincing materialist explanation for why the 1905 Revolution aborted.  Using the carrot and stick technique, the Tsarist elite bought off those they could afford to buy off and beat down those they could not.  The soldiers, most of them of peasant origin, were still being socio-economically sustained, the government was viable enough for that.  Hence, the soldiers readily carried out the order to suppress the workers’ rebellion.  In Trotsky’s words, the 1905 proletarian revolution was “broken on the bayonets of the peasant army.”41 Spokesmen for the movement, including Trotsky, were brought to trial, jailed or exiled.

“Between January, 1905 and the convocation of the First Duma on the twenty-seventh of April, 1906, the Tzarist government, according to approximate calculations, had killed more than fourteen thousand people, had executed more than a thousand, had wounded twenty thousand, had arrested, exiled or imprisoned about seventy thousand.”42

At the same time, the Tzar issued his October Manifesto authorizing the election of a parliament, the Duma. Although it would have no de facto power, because its creation provided socio-economic maintenance for many of the restive intellectuals who would take their places in it, the Duma served a pacifying function. In addition, a new influx of foreign, primarily European, investment capital was invited.  As before, the capital would only be permitted to develop industries which were not injurious to the interests of the feudal elites who controlled the country.  Additional extractive industries and foreign-owned assembly plants were developed, and the economy immediately responded.

“The country was more prosperous than it had ever been before; the budget was balanced and even showed a surplus, the vast railways network was expanded at a greater rate than any subsequent Communist government has been able to achieve, private trade was booming, and from all over the Western world firms like International Harvester and the Singer Sewing Machine Company began to set up their own establishments in Russia.  Then too, these were years of good harvests, and heavy industries like mining broke all records in production.”43

Since nearly everyone was being socio-economically maintained, political apathy inevitably returned.  “After 1906 both strikes and terrorist activities steadily diminished, and by 1911 the revolutionary movement was virtually at a standstill.”44 The number of persons involved in strikes dropped from a 1905 high of  around 2 million to a mere 8 thousand in 1909.45  “The years 1907-14 are sometimes designated the ‘years of reaction.’”46

The new prosperity inevitably affected the fortunes of the Marxist intellectuals and their organizations.  Many of the intellectuals now began to work within the establishment; although because of their previous organizational activities this was difficult-to-impossible for some of them to accomplish. Those who did return to working within the feudal framework, and those who had hopes of doing so, became noticeably more conservative.  Even the old guard Social Democrats who could not, or would not, forsake their commitment to the eventual revolution, often felt compelled to moderate their positions in an effort to keep up party membership.  In this they were only partially successful:

“The Fifth /Party/ Congress had exulted over a total membership of 150,000, including the national parties and the Bund.  By 1910 the figure was estimated at 10,000 while the total number of Bolshevik committees in Russia amounted to no more than five or six.  Between 1907 and 1912 the Russian Social Democratic Party existed more in the minds of the factional leaders than anywhere else.”47

“From militancy, the mood of the party changed to languor.”48

Just as predictable, the large sums of money formerly available to Marxist intellectual organizations was drastically reduced.  Some funds continued to be received from the wills of wealthy sympathizers.49   But in general, these were lean days, especially for the most militant organization, the Bolshevik.  To maintain the socio-economic status of its members, the latter turned to bank robberies and other expropriative measures during this period.50  Alan Moorehead writes: “Lenin himself gave up hope.  More than once at the time he used the phrase: ‘I do not expect to see the revolution.’”51

But Lenin’s pessimism soon proved unfounded.  The revolution was now only a few years away.  In retrospect, the wholly precarious nature of the 1906-14 boom is evident.  Russia’s population continued its rapid growth and with it grew the dire necessity for industrialization.  The feudal aristocracy, which would have to be economically, socially and politically expropriated in order to finance the industrialization, was not about to accept that alternative without a violent struggle.  They were willing to permit the development of non-threatening extractive and assembly industries only, and while these were greatly responsible for the momentary upswing, they could not long forestall the deluge.

Even if the aristocracy had been willing for foreign investors to undertake the creation of a heavy industrial base, ever looking for opportunities of maximum profit, foreign investors showed no interest in obliging.  (As they continued to express disinterest when Lenin gave them an invitation to industrialize the U.S.S.R. in 1921). The country’s increased dependence on the world economy further heightened the precariousness of its situation, for the international economy was preparing to enter one of its periodic collapses.

By 1914 the deepening world economic crisis was making its negative impress upon Russia.  Unemployment quickly rose.  So, too, did peasant and worker unrest.  Whereas the number of persons involved in strikes had fallen to 8 thousand in 1909, in 1914 it quickly climbed back to a million.52  With that, the Marxist intellectuals began to take heart again.

However, the revolution was still not at hand.  First, there would be a war.  And in respect to that war the Russian intellectuals’ rigidly absolutistic interpretation of Marx’s logic again failed to disclose the natural necessity of events. For years they had argued, at the Stuttgart and Basel congresses they formally avowed, and when World War I began many of them continued to believe, that the workers of Western Europe would simply refuse to fight.  The “class consciousness” of West European workers was extremely high it was reasoned.  Many employed the Marxist jargon, referring to themselves as the exploited and to factory owners as capitalist exploiters. Many had long regarded war as in the interest of capitalists and imperialists only.  Surely they would refuse to take up the gun.

“Lenin expected the social democratic parties of the countries at war to act in accordance to the resolutions discussed at the Basel and Stuttgart congresses.  He expected, that is, the European workers and their leaders to show international solidarity, to declare themselves disinterested in the war and unwilling to shoot at brother proletarians across the trenches; he thought they would be ready to turn the bayonets given them against their own governments and ruling classes.”53

It was even hoped that Russian workers and peasants might resist the cry for war.  Instead, not only did the workers and peasants of Europe and Russia rush enthusiastically to the fray, the Marxist intellectuals, almost to a man, excitedly joined them.  With the beginning of the war on August 1st, 1914:

“Suddenly everyone /in Russia/ discovers that he is possessed with an intense hatred of the Germans and a new emotional love for Russia and the Czar.  The workers abandon their strikes at once, and their demonstrations now are all in favor of the government. . . . Now finally after twenty bitter years /Czar/ Nicholas is at one with his people. 54  The next afternoon, August 2, 1914, the Tzar issued a formal proclamation of hostilities at the Winter Palace. . . .  The palace square, one of the largest in Europe, was packed with thousands of sweltering, excited people carrying banners, flags and icons and waiting impatiently for the moment when they could pour out their emotion in the presence of the sovereign himself. . . .  When Nicholas and Alexandra stepped onto the quay at the Palace Bridge, wave on wave of cheers rolled over them: ‘Batiushka, Batiushka, lead us to victory!'”55

Overnight, a wave of patriotism swept over Russia.  In Moscow, Kiev, Odessa, Kharkov, Kazan, Tula, Rostov, Tiflis, Tomsk and Irkutsk, workmen exchanged their red flags of revolution for the icons of Holy Russia and portraits of the Tzar.  Students rushed from the universities to enlist.  Army officers, caught in the street, were happily tossed in the air.”56

“The war checked the rising revolutionary tide,” Trotsky lamented. “We have witnessed a repetition of what happened ten years before, in the Russo-Japanese war.”57 Now that war was declared “defeatism was a sentiment felt only by the extreme left, and expressed solely in the European exile,” and even there, only among a minority living in nations such as Switzerland not engaged in the war.58   Within Russia, Trotsky observed, “not one of the Russian organizations or groups of the /Bolshevik/ Party took the openly defeatist position which Lenin came out for abroad.”59  “’/N/ot a trace was left of the revolutionary movement,’ declared Kerensky. ‘Even the Bolshevik members of the Duma were forced to admit–though somewhat sullenly–that it was the duty of the proletariat to cooperate in the defense.’”60

Not all of the Bolsheviks still in Russia gave their full support.  A few wavered.  But “where the Bolsheviks wavered, the Mensheviks in Russia almost entirely disintegrated and became indistinguishable from other ‘progressives’, combining a patriotic attitude towards the war with a demand for ‘democratic’ reforms.”61  “Among the 9,000 Russians who volunteered in Paris were the majority of Social Democrats and Socialist Revolutionaries who were living there.”62

Given the extent of the world economic crisis in 1914, for the majority of Russians–as for the majority of Western Europeans– the least costly way to preserve their respective socio-economic existences was war.  For workers to have turned upon their employers instead would have meant revolution; and, to date, revolutions have been the most expensive of political undertakings, something all Russians were soon to discover.  In a war, one sends the boy down the street, or a son.  In a revolution everyone’s life and livelihood are temporarily devastated as the established socio-economic-political order is dismantled and replaced.  For that reason, no nation has ever experienced a revolution if it still possessed the strength to maintain it’s population’s social existence by prosecuting a war.  Moreover, any nation which, having proceeded to a certain point with a revolutionary restructuring, found itself again able to prosecute a war less disruptively, has promptly done so, discontinuing the revolutionary struggle.  France under Napoleon Bonaparte is a classic example.

There is nothing particularly mysterious about war.  Like revolution, war is a political act (a “continuation of politics by another means,” as the Prussian theoretician Karl von Clausewitz put it), and political humanity is intent upon on preserving an existing socio-economic condition with minimum effort.  This the war succeeded in doing for the Russian people for a few more months. Unemployment immediately disappeared as a result of war expenditures.  The government “met the immense cost of the war not through increased taxation, but by huge foreign loans and the issue of paper money.”63  “Economic progress and the gradual but certain benefits from the reforms,” writes Harold Shukman, “were the basis of the popularity of the war.”64

But, while no one saw it coming–even Lenin and Trotsky despaired–Russia’s revolution was finally approaching.  It is a testimonial to the conservativism of humanity that the Russian people elected to go to war rather than revolution, though war would very soon become a costlier means of preserving their social existences.

A vast feudal state, with armies equipped, trained and supplied in the manner of a feudal nation, Russia undertook a wholly impossible feat in going to war with the far more modern and mechanized armies of industrial Germany, however apparent the natural necessity of that act.  The cost of the war to Russia quickly became enormous. Accounts of the country’s suffering read as though written by a single author.

“By the end of 1914, after only five months of war, one million Russians – one quarter of the army – had been killed, wounded or taken prisoner.”65

“Although appropriately armed, as it seemed, on the first day of the war, the troops soon turned out to have neither weapons nor even shoes. . . . After a series of partial catastrophes, in the spring of 1915 came the general retreat. . . . About five and a half million were counted as killed, wounded or captured.  The number of deserters kept growing. . . . The Russian army lost in the whole war more men than any army which ever participated in a national war, approximately two and a half million killed . . . “66

“The war had exhausted the Tzarist army.  Something like 15 million men had been called up /by 1916/, and many of them had been sent into the trenches without proper clothing, without boots, even sometimes without a rifle. . . . /According to Hindenberg, the German commander/, ‘the page on which the Russian losses were written has been torn out.  No one knows the figures.  Five or eight million?  We too, have no idea.  All we know is that sometimes in our battles with the Russians we had to remove the mounds of enemy corpses from before our trenches in order to get a clear field of fire against fresh assaulting waves.'”67

The suffering quickly reached the cities and the countryside. “Since 1914 wages /in the cities/ had increased by 100 percent, but in the same period prices had gone up by 400 percent  . . .68   “The rise in the cost of living automatically lowered /the value of the increased/ wages.”69   “By the end of 1916 prices are rising in leaps and bounds.  To the inflation and the breakdown of transport, there is added an actual lack of goods.”70 ” The cities naturally suffered more than the countryside, and Petrograd, farthest from the regions producing food and coal, suffered most.  Scarcities sent prices soaring: /by 1917/ an egg cost four times what it had in 1914, butter and soap cost five times as much.”71

While the cities experienced greater misery, the economy of the countryside was also collapsing. “The number of peasants selling tracts of land they could not live on had risen by the beginning of the war to a million, which meant no less than five million souls added to the proletarian population.”72 In the towns and cities, “economic strikes were the inevitable mass reflection–stormy in proportion as they had been delayed.”73 In the countryside, peasants began to seize the land.

The very arteries of the nation were collapsing:

“Russia began the war with 20,071 locomotives; by early 1917 only 9,021 were in service. Similar deterioration had reduced the number of /railway/ cars from 539,549 to 174,346. . . .  In February 1917, winter weather dealt Russia’s railroads a final blow.  In a month of extreme cold and heavy snowfall, 1,200 locomotive boilers froze and burst, deep drifts blocked long sections of track and 57,000 railway cars stood motionless.  In Petrograd, supplies of flour, coal and wood dwindled and disappeared.”74

By 1916, only the civilian and military elites were still being socio-economically sustained by the carnage, and they alone remained enthusiastic.  Trotsky related:

In the drawing rooms of Petrograd and the headquarters at the front they gently joked: ‘England has sworn to fight to the last drop of blood . . . of the Russian soldier.’  These jokes seeped down and reached the trenches.

“In the State Duma and in the press a few of the war profits for 1914 and 1915 were published. The Moscow textile company of  the Riabushinskys showed a net profit of 75 percent; the Tyer Company, 111 percent; the copper-works of Kolchugin netted over 12 million on a basic capital of 10 million.

“/E/verybody splashed about in the bloody mud–bankers, heads of the commissariat, industrialists, ballerinas of the Tzar and the grand dukes, orthodox prelates, ladies-in-waiting, liberal deputies, generals of the front and rear, radical lawyers, illustrious mandarins of both sexes. . . . All came running to grab and gobble . . . And all rejected with indignation the shameful idea of a premature peace.”75

As life in the cities drew to a stop and the nation became unable to prosecute the war, the self-protective reactions of the Russian elite damned them further in the eyes of the broader population. “When the ancients said that Jupiter first makes mad those whom he wishes to destroy,” said Trotsky, “they summed up in superstitious form a profound historical observation . . . the impersonal Jupiter of the historical dialectic . . . withdraws ‘reason’ from historic institutions that have outlived themselves and condemns their defenders to failure.”76 Russia’s feudal order of production had unquestionably outlived itself. By this point, it had been all but drained of viability for the majority of the country’s people.

Yet, not for a moment could Russia’s feudal elites entertain the possibility that they and their institutions must be overthrown. Wrote Trotsky: “The privileged caste cannot believe that no policy whatsoever is possible which would reconcile the old society with the new.”77

In desperation, the aristocracy, the bureaucracy and the monarchy now fell upon the only remaining analyses which gave any hope of maintaining them: they commenced to blame one another for the country’s misfortunes.  Each fastened onto the hopeful conviction that things could be made aright if only the others were reformed or eliminated. “The aristocracy, finding itself in the focus of a general hostility, lays the blame upon the bureaucracy, the latter blames the aristocracy, and then together, or separately, they direct their discontent against the monarchical summit of power.”78 Trotsky speaks of the nobility’s “death weariness”, which he says it converted “into opposition against the most sacred power of the old regime, that is, the monarchy.”79


“The killing of Rasputin was a monarchist act. It was intended by the Grand Duke, the Prince and the Right-wing deputy to cleanse the throne and restore the prestige of the dynasty. It was also intended, by removing what they conceived to be the power behind the Empress, to eliminate the Empress herself as a force in the government.”80

Visiting Russia from Britain, General Sir Henry Wilson wrote home:  “It seems as certain as anything can be that the Emperor and Empress are riding for a fall.  Everyone–officers, merchants, ladies–talk openly of the absolute necessity of doing away with them.”81

Until the last, Tzar Nicholas dreamed of preserving his own office, either by force or through democratic political reform.  But it was all over, the revolutionary struggle was about to start.

The February Rehearsal

In keeping with Marx’s thesis respecting the arch-conservative nature of all political activities, including revolutions, the Russian revolt began in the cities, and there, among the most sorely afflicted.  Trotsky recorded:

On the 19th /of February, 1917/ a mass of people gathered around the food shops, especially women, all demanding bread.  These were the heat lightnings of the revolution coming in a few days.82

“The 23rd of February was International Women’s Day.  The social-democratic circles had intended to mark this day in a general manner: by meetings, speeches, leaflets. . . . Not a single organization called for strikes on that day. What is more, even a Bolshevik organization, and a most militant one –the Vyborg borough-committee, all workers–was opposing strikes. . . .  On the following morning, however, in spite of all directives, the women textile workers in several factories went on strike, and sent delegates to the metal workers with an appeal for support.”83

On the following day the movement not only fails to diminish, but doubles.  About one-half of the industrial workers of Petrograd are on strike on the 24th of February . . .  The slogan ‘Bread!’ is crowded out or obscured by louder slogans: ‘Down with autocracy!’  ‘Down with the war!.'”84

“/Then the cossacks begin to go over./ . . . the masses will no longer retreat, they resist with optimistic brilliance, they stay on the street even after murderous volleys, they cling, not to their lives, but to the pavement, to stones, to pieces of ice.”85

“/D/esertion began in the Russian lines. . . . Within a few weeks of the /February/ rising about a million soldiers had deserted and were making their way home in trains, in carts, and on foot, and there was no authority capable of holding them back.”86 When neither war nor the fascist oppression of a minority can preserve a people’s social existence, when, in Trotsky‘s words, “there is no other way out,” then, and only then, do they turn upon the existing socio-economic-political system and violently, painfully, wrought those structural changes which their survival demands.

“/T/he Russian workers, who could not improve their position by one kopeck without blood liquidations, had no choice but to use weapons to escape despair and death by starvation.”87   “/S/o was industrialization /at long last/ a matter of survival for those who were in their turn about to become proletarians.”88

Explicit in Marx’s paradigm is the notion that where building an equalitarian socio-economic-political order is concerned people do not require leaders to direct them.  The aim of political activity being the preservation of socio-economic existence, the head of a peasant or a factory worker can solve the problem of how to realize that goal just as efficiently as the head of an intellectual.

Indeed, insofar as the intellectual has a hegemonic social existence to protect and/or is more socio-economically secure, Marx’s theory argues that in a revolutionary situation he will not move as far as they do in the direction of dismantling non-egalitarian institutions; that in this regard he is bound to be less revolutionary than the people he would lead; that if equality is their objective, in heeding his preachments they are sure to be misled.  So it was with Russia’s Revolution.  In February 1917 the most militant Marxist intellectuals were abroad, untouched by the socio-economic devastation being suffered by Russian peasants and workers; conveniently ignorant of the immediate needs of their people.

Lenin was in Switzerland, Trotsky was on his way to New York. Plekhanov, Axelrod, Martov, Dan and many others were scattered through Europe; and most of them were quarreling bitterly among themselves. None of them were planning to return to Russia, none had any idea that revolution was at hand.  Lenin was even saying at this time that he did not believe he would ever live to see it.”89

“The mob was in the streets, and the truth was that this March rising, like so many other lesser risings in the past, was not directly provoked by the revolutionary leaders, least of all by Lenin and the Bolshevik exiles.”90

“The February revolution of 1917 which overthrew the Romanov dynasty was the spontaneous outbreak of a multitude exasperated by the privations of the war and by manifest inequality in the distribution of burdens . . . The revolutionary parties played no direct part in the making of the revolution.  They did not expect it, and were at first somewhat non-plussed by it. The creation at the moment of the revolution of a Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ Deputies was a spontaneous act of groups of workers without central direction.”91

With his usual honesty, Trotsky acknowledged that the February uprising received no direction from above, and that the Bolsheviks’ impact was to mitigate, not expedite, the revolt. He relates:

For no one, positively no one—we can assert this categorically upon the basis of all the data—then thought that February 23 was to mark the beginning of a decisive drive against absolutism. . . . Thus the fact is that the February Revolution was begun from below, overcoming the resistance of its own revolutionary organizations, the initiative being taken of their own accord by the most oppressed and downtrodden part of the proletariat—the women textile workers.”92

“Only on the morning of the 25th, the Bureau of the Bolshevik Central Committee at last decided to issue a handbill calling for an all-Russian general strike.   At the moment of issue, if indeed it ever did issue, the general strike in Petrograd was facing an armed uprising.  The leaders were watching the movement from above; they hesitated, they lagged—in other words, they did not lead.  They dragged after the movement.”93

“Even at the meeting of the Vyborg committee the evening of the 26th—that is, twelve hours before the victory—arose discussions as to whether it was not time to end the strike.  This may seem astonishing. But remember, it is far easier to  recognize victory the day after than the day before. . . .  Among the rank and file workers there were fewer oscillations.94 . . .  The masses had almost no leadership from above. . . .  Without a look back, the masses made their own history.”95

We must lay it down as a general rule for those days that the higher the leaders, the further they lagged behind. . . .  Shliapnikov, the chief figure in the Petrograd center of the Bolsheviks, tells how he refused the demands of the workers for firearms—or even revolvers—sending them to the barracks to get them. He wished in this way to avoid bloody clashes between workers and soldiers, staking everything on agitation—that is, on the conquest of the solders by work and example.”96

“How was it with the Bolsheviks? . . .  The principal leaders of the underground Bolshevik organization were at that time three men: the former workers Shliapnikov and Zalutsky, and the former student Molotov. . . .  Up to the very last hour these leaders thought that it was a question of a revolutionary manifestation, one among many, and not at all of an armed insurrection.”97

With virtually no one left to give him support, with even the landed aristocracy now in opposition, the Tzar abdicated. Everyone now took up the cry of revolution.  “In all the commanding staff there was not found one man to take action in behalf of the Tzar.  They all hastened to transfer to the ship of the revolution, firmly expecting to find comfortable cabins there.   Generals and admirals one and all removed the tzarist braid and put on the red ribbon.”98 The centuries-old Russian monarchy came to an end as quietly as the life of an old man.  A Provisional Government was immediately constituted with Aleksandr Kerensky functioning as its most active spokesman and ultimately its head.

But, where changing Russia’s productive-distributive system was concerned, toppling the Tzar and establishing the Provisional Government were only cosmetic alterations. They were in no sense a revolution. The Russian feudal order was still very much intact.  Those who rushed to occupy the seats of the Provisional Government were in the main representatives of the propertied classes.  “Everything had changed. Everything remained the same,” lamented Trotsky:

“. . . the tzarist generals remain generals, the senators senatorialize, the privy councillors defend their dignity, the Table of Precedence is still in effect.  Colored hat-bands and cockades recall the bureaucratic hierarchy; yellow buttons with an eagle still distinguish the student.  And yet more important–the landlords are still landlords, no end of the war is in sight, the Allied diplomats are impudently jerking Russia along on a string. . . .  Wild parties are in progress in the private dining rooms of expensive restaurants.”99

There would be no major alterations in Russia’s policies either foreign or domestic.  The war would continue to be fought and peasants would not be permitted to seize the land, nor workers the factories.  Yet, while nothing significant had changed, the Marxist intellectuals, including the Bolsheviks, promptly demonstrated their willingness to play the role of a loyal opposition.  Kamenev, Stalin and Muranov returned to take over the editorship of Pravda on March 15th and in a lead editorial they argued:

“While the German army obeys its emperor, the Russian soldier must ‘stand firmly at his post answering bullet with bullet and shell with shell.’  ‘Our slogan is pressure upon the provisional Government with the aim of compelling it . . . to make an attempt to induce all the warring countries to open immediate negotiations . . . and until then every man remains at his fighting post.'”100

“The policy of the Party throughout the whole country,” noted Trotsky, “naturally followed that of Pravda”.101

However, the soldiers, peasants and workers were entertaining very different ideas.  They understood, even if the Marxist intellectuals did not, that their own survival required the war be terminated, and that land and many factories be seized and operated for their immediate benefit.  Organized in Soviets which, as in 1905,  came into spontaneous existence with the February uprising, workers began to formulate and carry out policies expropriative of the Russian elites; policies which entailed “making the revolution.” Simultaneously: “Peasants began to seize the squires’ estates and divide the land among themselves.  The peasant soldiers, fearful lest they be left out, voted for peace ‘with their feet’ in a growing wave of desertions.”102

It was of no avail to flog the soldiers (it had come to that) or shoot them, for whole regiments simply melted away in the summer’s heat.  Men left the front, carrying their guns and ammunition along with them, demanding that peace be concluded.  The garrison and the factories of Petrograd went out into the streets, urged on by the anarchists, but against the advice of the Bolsheviks, who felt that the country was not yet ripe for the seizure of power.”103

A period which has been aptly described as one of “dual governments” now began.  There was the Provisional Government, representing all the old feudal interests and policies which had to be overturned if the masses were to survive; as noted, the Provisional Government was controlled by the landlords, with Mensheviks and Bolsheviks going along while tugging to the left, the former moderately, the latter with considerable vigor.

Then there were the Soviets, which came much closer to representing the will of the masses.  In the Soviets, workers’ and soldiers’ deputies met and made policy, ignoring or opposing the directives of the Provisional Government.  In respect to these bodies, which were dominated by workers and soldiers of higher status, and were therefore more conservative than the Russian masses in general, the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks pulled to the right.

According to Marx, the political “truths” people entertain invariably betray their interests as well as their aspirations. The Marxist intellectuals, who would in time come to politically represent and defend the nascent financial-industrial-elite, had already constructed theoretical justifications for playing that role. In keeping with their Hegelian interpretation of Marx’s theory, they held it was “objectively true” that countries must pass through specific stages in a specific manner.  A feudal system of production must be supplanted by a bourgeois-democratic (capitalist) order, a bourgeois-democracy by a socialist structure.  The latter would then gradually, non-cataclysmically, metamorphose, into communism.

Both the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks considered it a truism that feudal Russia was about to undergo a bourgeois-democratic revolution.  What divided them concerned not what sort of society Russia was: it was feudal.  Nor did they disagree over what it would soon become: obviously capitalist.  Rather, their disputes concerned how long the country would remain capitalist before experiencing a second, socialist revolution; and how, as a consequence, they, as Marxist revolutionaries, should behave after the capitalist revolution occurred.

The Mensheviks believed it would take a long time for Russia’s capitalist order to fully develop, exhaust its creative capacities, and give birth to a socialist-egalitarian working class which could only be protected by carrying out an anti-capitalist revolution.  Hence, they proposed that following the capitalist revolution Marxist revolutionaries should work within the government to provide workers protection as the industrial-elite system flowered.

The Bolsheviks, conversely, expected Russia’s progression from feudalism to capitalism to socialism to happen quickly.  They argued that by transforming the country’s relationships with Europe, a capitalist revolution in Russia would throw Western Europe’s mature capitalist systems into crisis, “sparking” (the Bolshevik newspaper was named Iskra, “the spark”) socialist revolutions on the continent.  The latter, in turn, would push capitalist Russia back into crisis.  Aided and abetted by West European revolutionaries, Russia would then undergo its own socialist revolutionary transformation. Believing the entire process would be rapid, the Bolsheviks held that following Russia’s capitalist revolution Marxist revolutionaries should pressure the government from without, just as they had done with its feudal predecessor.

More conservative than the Bolsheviks in interest and outlook, Mensheviks were inclined to see the Provisional Government as genuinely revolutionary, the political representation of the new capitalist productive order, and, to give it their assistance.  Conscious of, and disturbed by, the Provisional Government’s feudal ties, the Bolsheviks hesitated to consider it a truly capitalist organ, adopting the position of a reluctant, only semi-loyal, opposition.

For Russian workers and peasants, on the other hand, survival demanded that the Marxist intellectuals’ abstract philosophical conceptions be ignored while they went about the daily business of defending their livelihoods and their lives.

From the very beginning the masses repudiated the liberal bourgeoisie, deeming it no different from the nobility and the bureaucracy. . . .  The workers, and not only the Bolsheviks, looked upon the Provisional Government as their enemy.   Resolutions urging the transfer of power to the Soviets passed almost unanimously at factory meetings. The Bolshevik Dingelstead, subsequently a victim of the purge, has testified: ‘There was not a single meeting of workers that would have refused to pass such a resolution proposed by us. . . .’ But, yielding to the pressure of the compromisers, the Petrograd Committee of the Bolshevik Party stopped this campaign. The advanced workers tried their utmost to throw off the tutelage on top, but they did not know how to parry the learned arguments about the bourgeois nature of the revolution.”104

“‘It must be openly acknowledged,'” wrote the Bolshevik Angarsky, who had passed through the same evolution as the others, “‘that a great many of the Old Bolsheviks . . . maintained the Old Bolshevik opinions of 1905 on the question of the character of the Revolution of 1917 and that the repudiation of these views was not easily accomplished.'”  “As a matter of fact /observes Trotsky/, it was not a question of ‘a great many of the old Bolsheviks’, but all of them without exception.  At the March /1917/ conference, at which the Party cadres of the entire country met, not a single voice was heard in favor of striving to win the power for the Soviets.”105

Such was the political climate when Lenin returned to Russia on April 3rd and dropped a bombshell in the form of his April Theses. To the consternation of his party, Lenin sided not with those who were supporting the Provisional Government, nor even with the majority sentiment in the Petrograd Soviet, but with the ultra-left anarchist sentiment of the mass of Russian peasants and workers.  He backed their demands for no further prosecution of the war, upheld their insistance on an immediate expropriation of the land-holders, and on workers’ control of the factories.  Most shocking of all to the Party, he advocated immediate government by workers, soldiers and peasants organized in their Soviets.

He swept aside legislative agrarian reform . . . along with all the rest of the policies of the Soviet, /saying/ ‘We don’t need any parliamentary republic.  We don’t need any bourgeois democracy.  We don’t need any government except the Soviet of workers’, soldiers’, and farmhands’ deputies’. . .’  At the same time, Lenin sharply separated himself from the . . . majority, tossing them over into the camp of the enemy.  That alone was enough in those days to make his listeners dizzy.”106

“‘All power to the Soviets!,'” Lenin proclaimed, and, seeming to abandon Marxism altogether, “‘Hail the world-wide socialist revolution.'” “It did not even fit the context of the Russian revolution as understood by all without exception who had witnessed or taken part in it.  Lenin had spoken; and his first words had been not of the bourgeois, but the socialist revolution.”107

Not the Bolsheviks, but Lenin, had momentarily caught up with the workers. Now he would attempt to drag members of the party along with him.  Their immediate response was predictably negative.  When Lenin read them his famous April Theses:

“Bogdanov interrupted with cries of ‘Delirium, the delirium of a madman’.  Goldenberg, another former Bolshevik, declared that ‘Lenin has proposed himself as candidate for a European throne vacant for 30 years, the throne of /the anarchist/ Bakunin.'”108

“’Among the newly arrived anarchists,’ wrote the British ambassador, ‘was Lenin.’”109   “Stankevich testifies that Lenin’s speech greatly delighted his enemies: ‘A man who talked that kind of stupidity is not dangerous.  It’s a good thing he has come.  Now he is in plain sight. . . .Now he will refute himself.'”110

Lenin not only asked for all power to be transferred to the Soviets, he insisted that a single state bank be created with state control of all production and that nationalization of the land be immediately undertaken.  He wanted the police, the army and the bureaucracy to be abolished, and every worker and peasant armed and made eligible to hold office.111  “/T/he Petrograd committee of the party discussed Lenin’s theses and rejected them by thirteen votes to two . . . “112  “/T/hey were published in his own name and his only. The central institutions of the Party met them with a hostility softened only by bewilderment.  Nobody, not one organization, group or individual, affixed his signature to them.”113

Over the next six months the Party would learn that under the existing circumstances Lenin’s proposals were the minimum the masses could, and therefore would, accept.  They would need to discover that their own positions as “leaders” were dependent upon their going along. “There was nothing in the program which could not be carried out; on the contrary, it would have been difficult and dangerous at this time not to carry it out.”114 But the Bolshevik intellectuals would prove reluctant pupils, manifesting all the hesitation to be expected of them by virtue of their greater socio-economic security.  Like the masses themselves, they would move to the left only when they came under assault; only when they, too, were made to choose between revolution and socio-economic survival.

A revolution, argued Marx, only occurs when the social existence of a significant portion of a nation’s population becomes mutually exclusive with that of the individuals who control the institutional structure.  As the two sides discover they must have at it or fail to be sustained the battle commences. The initial reaction of people who are not as immediately threatened as either of the protagonists is to watch and wait, to vacillate, then gradually move over to the winning side.  In Russia, the social existence of workers and peasants had now become mutually exclusive with that of the landed aristocracy.  The Marxist intellectuals, including the Bolsheviks, acted true to form.  They wavered until the final moment; indeed, they wavered until they were shoved into the revolutionary camp.

Just how far the Marxist intellectuals had to travel is further revealed by the fact that only two months before Lenin’s return Stalin, who as indicated was one of three then speaking for the party through editorship of Pravda, had greeted the February Revolution with the observation: “‘To the extent that the Russian Revolution has won . . . it has already created actual conditions /for national freedom/ by having overthrown the sovereignty of feudalism and serfdom.’”115  In his biography of Stalin, Trotsky commented:

As far as our author was concerned the Revolution was already completely a thing of the past. . . .  Yet still untouched was not only capitalist exploitation, the overthrow of which had not even occurred to Stalin, but even the ownership of land by the landed gentry, something he himself had designated as the basis of national oppression.  The government was run by Russian landlords like Rodzianko and Prince Lvov.”116

Trotsky was virtually alone when, upon returning to Russia in May, he went over to Lenin’s position.  In a speech given on May 5th, Trotsky said: “What do we recommend?  I think that the next step should be the handing over of all power to the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers Deputies.”117

In the weeks which followed it became ever clearer to members of the Bolshevik Party that Lenin’s proposals alone would gain them any attention from the masses.  Victor Serge remarks: “/S/uddenly it becomes apparent that he has the ear of the man in the street, and of the man in the factory and barracks!  His whole genius consists only in his ability to say what these people want to say, but do not know how to say . . . “118 Alan Moorehead writes: “In a situation where every party and every politician was being pushed first one way and then another Lenin alone stuck to one uncompromising line of argument, and it was closer to the feelings of the illiterate and irresponsible mass of the Russian people than any other.”119 The elitism and rank condescension contained in the remarks of Serge and Moorehead aside, they make the point that Lenin was coming to be in step with those whom the Marxist intellectuals wished to guide.

All the while, deserting soldiers continued to stream back from the front, workers continued to seize factories and run their affairs in factory committees, and peasants continued to forceably appropriate the land.  The landed aristocracy began to grow desperate.  The Provisional Government was failing to perform the vital function of a political organization: defending the socio-economic existences of those who give it support.  “/T/he institutions and organs of the possessing classes began to denounce the dual power, and to lay blame for the disorders upon the Soviets.”120

The property-holders, deprived of the possibility of using their property, or protecting it, ceased to be real property holders and became badly frightened Philistines who could not give any support to the government for the simple reason that they needed support themselves. They soon began to curse the government for its weakness, but they were only cursing their own fate.”121

In July the Provisional Government issued an order for a large-scale military operation in Galicia. More peasants and workers would be sent to the slaughter.  The masses again responded by taking to the streets in spontaneous protest. They would refuse to go. “On July 16, half a million people marched through the streets /of Petrograd/ carrying huge scarlet banners proclaiming ‘Down With the War!’  ‘Down with the Provisional Government!’”122

Whereupon, the Bolshevik Party again procrastinated.  According to Trotsky:

The Bolsheviks were caught up by the movement and dragged into it, looking around the while for some justification for an action which flatly contradicted the official decision of the party.  And, so as not to lose face, rank and file Bolsheviks were forced to go flatly against the decisions of their leaders: Their Central Committee addressed an appeal to the workers and soldiers: ‘Unknown persons . . . are summoning you into the streets under arms, and that proves that the summons does not come from any of the Soviet parties . . .’  Thus the Central Committee, both of the Party and the Soviet, proposed, but the masses disposed.”123

“When the July demonstration was under discussion, Stalin argued that the workers were not eager for the fray. That argument was disproved by the July days themselves, when, defying the proscriptions of the Compromisers and even the warnings of the Bolshevik Party, the proletariat poured into the street, shoulder to shoulder with the garrison.”124

The July riots constituted a serious attack upon the Provisional Government and the feudal interests which that government (now inadequately) represented, making a counter-attack imperative.  The government responded by striking at the most visible and organized, albeit hesitant, body of opposition, the Bolsheviks. “On July 19th Kerensky got back from the front and writs were issued for the arrest of Lenin, Kamenev, Zinoviev and others. /Zinoviev and Lenin escaped to Finland./ Trotsky at his own request was arrested later on.”125  “Loyal troops were drafted into the capital . . . “126  “Workers were shot, Bolshevik establishments were raided and looted, party leaders were thrown in jail, and the Party itself was outlawed.”127 Trotsky observes: “The Bolsheviks were blamed for what was really a spontaneous movement and one which the Bolsheviks actually sought to restrain, believing the movement immature and insufficiently directed.”128

At last the Bolsheviks had begun to share the fate of the masses.  They, too, were now engaged in  a battle for socio-economic survival.  Accordingly, they took a few more steps in the direction of revolution.

In August, General Kornilov, acting at the urging of sore-beset aristocrats who had grown disillusioned with Kerensky’s feeble protective efforts, attempted to march on Petrograd and overthrow the Provisional Government.  To save himself, Kerensky issued a general appeal, addressing it even to the Bolsheviks.  Considering him a lesser evil, the Bolsheviks agreed to help, which served to strengthen their hand when Kornilov was easily routed.

As the interests of the masses and the landed aristocracy grew daily more incompatible, it became imperative for the Bolsheviks to give full support to one side or the other; fence straddling was rapidly becoming impossible.

From Finland Lenin sent messages urging that the party seize power.  But “Lenin’s urgent demands for immediate action met stiff resistance from those Bolshevik leaders who had remained in Petrograd, living underground, to direct the work of the Party on the spot.  They tried to disregard the appeals with which Lenin bombarded them from his hideout across the border . . . “129 Lenin argued, it seemed an indisputable fact to him, “that the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks would be supported by the vast masses of Russia’s workers and peasants, and would not be opposed by any unsurmountable forces.”130 Nor would the troops present opposition. “All the units were united by a single sentiment: Overthrow Kerensky as soon as possible, disperse, and go home and institute a new land system.”131

Finally, Lenin contended, for the Bolsheviks to continue hesitating would be to seal their doom.  The Provisional Government was even now preparing its own attack.  On the 5th of October, 1917 Lenin appeared in disguise at a special Central Committee meeting held for the express purpose of discussing insurrection.  He drafted a Committee resolution which stressed the need to act. Among other things, the resolution pointed to: “the obvious preparation of a second Kornilov attack (the withdrawal of troops from Petersburg, the importation of Cossacks into Petersburg, the surrounding of Minsk with Cossacks, etc.)”132 His resolution concluded: “all this places armed insurrection on the order of the day.”133 But Lenin’s blandishments, even at this late date, failed to persuade his comrades. “In private argument” they said of him: “Lenin is a crazy man; he is pushing the working-class to certain ruin.  From this armed insurrection we will get nothing; they will shatter us, exterminate the party and the working-class, and that will post-pone the revolution for years and years, etc.”134

“At a session of the Petrograd Committee on the 15th /just ten days before the Bolsheviks seized power/, Kalinin said: ‘The resolution of the Central Committee was one of the best resolutions ever adopted by the Central Committee . . . We are practically approaching the armed insurrection.  But when it will be possible, perhaps a year from now, is unknown.’”135

Trotsky appears to understate the case when he observes: “plenty of testimony has been preserved in the newspapers, memoirs and historic journals of that time, to prove that on the eve of the overturn the official machine even of this most revolutionary party put up a big resistance.” In actuality the Bolsheviks would not move until they were attacked.

But let Trotsky tell the tale of the final hours:

On the night of October 24th the government summoned up its courage and passed a resolution: to institute legal proceedings against the Military Revolutionary Committee; to shut down the Bolshevik papers advocating insurrection; to summon reliable military detachments from the environs and from the front. . . . Early in the morning the authorities began their preparations for aggressive action.  The military schools of the capital were ordered to make ready for battle. The cruiser Aurora, moored in the Neva, its crew favorable to the Bolsheviks, was ordered to put out and join the rest of the fleet.  Military detachments were called in from neighboring points: a battalion of shock troops from Tzarskoe Selo, the junkers from Oranienbaum, the artillery from Pavlovsk.  The headquarters of the Northern Front was asked to send reliable troops to the capital immediately. . . .  The Minister of Justice, Maliantovich, gave an order for the immediate arrest of those Bolsheviks released under bail who had again brought themselves to attention by anti-government activity.”136

In self-defense, the Bolsheviks finally responded by seizing power.  “The key points in the city were /almost effortlessly/ occupied; the members of the Provisional Government were made prisoners or fugitives; and in the afternoon Lenin announced to a meeting of the Petrograd Soviet the triumph of the workers’ and peasants’ revo-lution.”137

The Resilient Myth

In their book, Obsolete Communism, Daniel and Gabriel Cohn-Bendit point to “the myth of the Bolshevik Party as the revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat.”138 They note, and this essay has documented, that the evidence conclusively demonstrates otherwise.  To be sure, the idea they were playing a critical vanguard role was the utilitarian logic of the Bolsheviks’ own experience and interest.  But, at the time, their personal “truth” was shared by few other Russians.  The Cohn-Bendits speak of a “fundamental contradiction” in Leon Trotsky’s writings.  On the one hand, they observe, there is Trotsky the “honest historian” who acknowledged:

“‘The soldiers lagged behind the shop committees.  The committees lagged behind the masses . . .  The Party also lagged behind the revolutionary dynamic — an organization which had the least right to lag, especially in a time of revo-lution. . . .  The masses at the turning point were a hundred times to the left of the extreme left party.'”139

It is Trotsky the honest historian who grants that where acting was concerned Bolshevik Party members were reluctant revolutionaries every step of the way; that in the years prior to the revolution they had little or no success in even gaining the ear of workers or peasants, let alone educating them; that as late as the beginning of 1917 they “were little known to anybody”;140  that throughout its history the Party had always been what Shukman terms a “cacophony of dissonant voices.”141

Trotsky the honest historian was fond of reminiscing that “Lenin said more than once that the masses are to the left of the Party.  He knew that the Party was to the left of its own upperlayer of ‘Old Bolsheviks.’”142

Yet, the Cohn-Bendits argue, unable to accept the logic of his own experience, Trotsky the “Bolshevik theorist” reasoned: “‘The mystic doctrine of spontaneousness explains nothing.’  ‘To the question, Who led the February revolution? we can then answer definitely enough: Conscious and tempered workers educated for the most part by the party of Lenin.'”143

The Cohn-Bendits are obviously right.  Trotsky’s argument respecting the importance of the Bolshevik Party for organizing and guiding the Russian Revolution makes no sense whatsoever.  Nor does Trotsky offer a shred of evidence to support his proposition.  He simply states it as a given.  His discussion of the indispensible role of the Bolshevik vanguard is theosophic and wholly unconvincing. Why, then, did he persist with this belief, and why did his comrades?

Consider, again, the value of this myth for middle-class Russian intellectuals during the long years of the pre-revolutionary crisis.  Consider the implications if they had abandoned it.  They would have at once forsaken their role of revolutionary social workers, a role which, as noted, not only gave them socio-economic sustenance but a sense of considerable purpose as well, and this right up to and after the October Revolution.

As the Cohn-Bendits remark: In 1917 “It was the /Bolshevik/ Party that had to rise to the level of the masses, not the other way around.  Lenin had to turn ‘anarchist’, and to carry an incredulous Party with him.  October thus represents the point where the action and aspiration of the masses coincided with those of the temporarily de-Bolshevized Bolshevik Party, and this happy state of affairs persisted until the spring of 1918.”144

Following the October Revolution, for Russia’s Marxist intellectuals to understand and accept Marx’s argument concerning the conservative and thoroughly relative nature of all political understandings would have been to forsake their rationale for exercising control.  So, they did not understand and accept. Instead, they adopted an ideational and absolutistic interpretation of Marx’s paradigm, an Hegelian vision ideally suited to the building of a non-equalitarian society dominated by an industrial-elite; however emotionally committed to equality a few Bolsheviks like Lenin and Trotsky might happen to have been – and they were.

Following the Civil War (1918-21) Russia’s “Communist” Party ever more consciously and confidently embrace its psuedo-Marxist “Scientific Socialism,” as it turned to overseeing a thermidorean reaction.  The country’s financial-industrial-elite, state-capitalist order had at last been born and, acting in the name of socialism and communism, the Party would now energetically represent it.

One of Marx’s central tenets was that the elite which dominates every productive order claims to rule in the interest of the masses.  Russia’s “communist” leaders would provide a graphic illustration of his thesis.


1. Milovan Djilas, The New Class, New York: Praeger Paperbacks,

1975, p. 13.

2. Ibid. p. 12.

3. Leon Trotsky, Stalin: An Appraisal of the Man and His

Influence, New York: The Universal Library, Grosset & Dunlap,

1941, p. 412.

4. Leon Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, New York: Doubleday

Anchor, 1959, p. 242.

5. Ibid. p. 304.

6. Leon Trotsky, Leon Trotsky Speaks, New York, Pathfinder

Press, Inc., 1952, p. 261.

7. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. 92.

8. Alan Moorehead, The Russian Revolution, New York: Bantam

Books, 1959, p. 12.

9. Lionel Kochan, Russia in Revolution 1890-1918, London:

Wiedenfeld and Nicholson, 1966, p. 2.

10. Moorehead, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. 15.

11. Leon Trotsky, Permanent Revolution and Results and

Prospects, London: New Park Publications Ltd., 1962, p. 178.

12. Alfred G. Meyer, Leninism, New York: Frederick A. Praeger,

Inc., 1962, p. 11.

13. E.H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, Vol. I, Baltimore:

Penguin Books, 1950, p. 21.

14. Quoted by Isaac Deutscher in: Anatoly Vasilievich

Lunacharsky, Revolutionary Silhouettes, New York: Hill and

Wang, 1968, p. 9.

15. Harold Shukman, Lenin and the Russian Revolution, New

York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1967, p. 25.

16. Ibid., p. 27.

17. Ibid., p. 102.

18. Ibid., p. 127.

19. Ibid., p. 31.

20. Ibid., pp. 27-9.

21. Ibid., p. 39.

22. E.H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, op cit., p. 21.

23. Shukman, op. cit., p. 31.

24. Ibid., p. 32.

25. Meyer, Leninism, op. cit., p. 31.

26. Ibid., pp. 21, 29, 31.

27. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, op. cit., p. 27.

28. Ibid., p. 28. (From the collected works of Lenin).

29. Ibid.

30. Shukman, op. cit., p. 36.

31. Moorehead, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. 40.

32. Ibid.

33. Shukman, op. cit., p. 42.

34. Ibid.

35. Richard Pipes, “The Origins of Bolshevism,” in Richard Pipes

ed., Revolutionary Russia, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard

University Press, 1968, p. 31.

36. Ibid.

37. Shukman, op. cit., p. 44.

38. Ibid., pp. 45-6.

39. Shukman, op. cit., p. 90.

40. Trotsky, Permanent Revolution and Results and Prospects, op.

cit., p. 192.

41. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, op. cit., p. 64.

42. Trotsky, Stalin, op. cit., p. 81.

43. Moorehead, op. cit., p. 63.

44. Ibid.

45. Ibid., p. 76.

46. Shukman, op. cit., p. 123.

47. Ibid., p. 126.

48. Ibid., p. 123.

49. Moorehead, op. cit., p. 80.

50. Ibid., p. 76, Also: Shukman, op. cit., pp. 102-3.

51. Moorehead, op. cit., p. 64.

52. Ibid., p. 76.

53. Meyer, op. cit., p. 156.

54. Moorehead, op. cit., pp. 93-4.

55. Robert K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra, New York: Dell

Publishing Co., 1967, p. 277.

56. Ibid., p. 278.

57. Trotsky, Leon Trotsky Speaks, op. cit., pp. 40-1.

58. Shukman, op. cit., p. 141.

59. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. 35.

60. Massie, op. cit., p. 279.

61. Carr, op. cit., p. 79.

62. Shukman, op. cit., p. 160.

63. Ibid., p. 144.

64. Ibid., p. 141.

65. Massie, op. cit., p. 309.

66. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., pp. 16-18.

67. Moorehead, op. cit., pp. 3-4.

68. Ibid., pp. 4-5.

69. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. 37.

70. Ibid., p. 40.

71. Massie, op. cit., p. 396.

72. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. 45.

73. Ibid., p. 37.

74. Massie, op. cit., p. 396.

75. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., pp. 18, 22.

76. Ibid., p. 91.

77. Ibid., p. 73.

78. Ibid.

79. Ibid.

80. Massie, op. cit., p. 386.

81. Ibid.

82. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. 42.

83. Ibid., p. 97.

84. Ibid., pp. 98-9.

85. Ibid., pp. 109-10.

86. Moorehead, op. cit., p. 161.

87. Djilas, op. cit., p. 13.

88. Ibid., p. 16.

89. Moorehead, op. cit., p. 7.

90. Ibid., p. 139.

91. Carr, op. cit., p. 81.

92. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. 98.

93. Ibid., p. 107.

94. Ibid., p. 110.

95. Ibid., p. 113.

96. Ibid., p. 115.

97. Ibid., p. 139.

98. Ibid., p. 86.

99. Ibid., pp. 336, 338.

100. Ibid., p. 217.

101. Ibid., p. 218.

102. Meyer, op. cit., p. 171.

103. Victor Serge, From Lenin to Stalin, New York: Monad Press

(Pathfinder Press), 1973, p. 19.

104. Trotsky, Stalin, op. cit., p. 186.

105. Ibid., pp. 197-8.

106. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., pp. 225-6.

107. Carr, op. cit., p. 89.

108. Ibid., p. 90.

109. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. 237.

110. Ibid., p. 235.

111. Moorehead, op. cit., p. 191.

112. Carr, op. cit., p. 91; Moorehead, op. cit., p. 191.

113. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. 227.

114. Serge, op. cit., p. 16.

115. Trotsky, Stalin, op. cit., pp. 189-90.

116. Ibid.

117. Trotsky, Leon Trotsky Speaks, op. cit., p. 52.

118.         Serge, op. cit., p. 15.

119.         Moorehead, op. cit., p. 192.

120.         Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. 193.

121.         Ibid., p. 194.

122.         Massie, op. cit., p. 464.

123. Trotsky, Quoted in: Daniel and Gabriel Cohn-Bendit,

Obsolete Communism: The Left-Wing Alternative, New York:

McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1968, p. 204.

124. Trotsky, Stalin, op. cit., p. 208.

125. Moorehead, op. cit., p. 209.

126. Carr, op. cit., p. 101.

127. Meyer, Leninism, op. cit., p. 172.

128. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. 254.

129. Meyer, op. cit., p. 175.

130. Ibid., p. 176.

131. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. 320.

132. Ibid., p. 286.

133. Ibid.

134. Ibid., p. 289.

135. Ibid., p. 288.

136. Ibid., pp. 340-1.

137. Carr, op. cit., p. 109.

138. Cohn-Bendit, op. cit., p. 202.

139. Ibid.

140. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., p. x.

141. Shukman, op. cit., p. 128.

142. Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, op. cit., pp. 264, 412.

143. Ibid., pp. 145, 147.

144. Cohn-Bendit, op. cit., p. 217.

Machiavelli and Marx Debate IV

Marx’s First Rebuttal

Chronicled by Theosophus

Philadelphia: Saturday, January 24th, 2009.

Most readers are probably aware there was a long interruption in the debate following Machiavelli’s first rebuttal.  The initial reason was that both men were taking far more than their alloted times, and, it was getting very late.  Baruch S. Blumberg, MD, President of the American Philosophical Society, jokingly remarked he doubted even Thomas Jefferson, Tom Paine or Elihu Root, all known for giving lengthy speeches, would have been quite so long-winded.  After consulting with Machiavelli and Marx, Dr. Blumberg announced the debate would resume as soon as it proved convenient for the debaters.

Subsequently, both men suffered illness, Machiavelli an upper respiratory infection, Marx “coffin burn,” or so he said.  Because Dr. Marx would have more than a year to prepare for his initial rebuttal, it was agreed that Mr. Machiavelli would be allowed additional time for his second rebuttal.

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To give life a meaning: that has been the grand endeavor of all who have preached ‘truth’; for unless life is given a meaning it has none.   At this level, truth is not something that can be proved or disproved: it is something which you determine upon, which, in the language of the old psychology, you will.  It is not something waiting to be discovered, something to which you submit or at which you halt: it is something you create, it is the expression of a particular kind of life and being which has, in you, ventured to assert itself.                                                                      R.J. Hollingdale

Theories are instruments, not answers to enigmas, in which we can rest.  We don’t lie back upon them, we move forward, and on occasion, make nature over again by their aid. . . .   Any idea upon which we can ride, so to speak; any idea that will carry us prosperously from one part of our experience to any other part, linking things satisfactorily, working securely, simplifying, saving labor; is true for just so much, true in so far forth, true instrumentally.

Human motives sharpen all our questions, human satisfactions lurk in all our answers, all our formulas have a human twist . . . We carve out stars in the heavens and call them constellations, and the stars patiently suffer us to do so. . . . We name the constellations diversely . . . In all of these cases we humanly make an addition to some sensible reality, and that reality tolerates the addition.  All the additions “agree” with reality.  No one of them is false. Which may be treated as the “more true” depends altogether on the human use of it. William James

The chief defect of all hitherto existing materialism—that of Feuerbach included–is that the thing, reality, sensuousness, is conceived only in the form of the object or of contemplation, but not as sensuous human activity, practice, not subjectively.  Feuerbach does not conceive human activity as itself objective activity. . . .  The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question.  Man must prove the truth–the this-sidedness of his thinking in practice.  The dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking that is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question.                                                                                                                                                             Karl Marx

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Friedrich Nietzsche once suggested that where politics and philosophy are concerned one should love enemies more than friends. Reaffirming what one already believes, he reasoned, friends don’t help one grow.  Enemies do.  One must either accept their compelling arguments, or, try to counter them by building a better defense of his own position, profiting either way.

Marx seems to embody Nietzsche’s recommendation.  Even his bitterest enemies never quite succeed in portraying him as malevolent or mean.  While he’s capable of great anger, his anger is directed at arguments, rather than the individuals who make them.  He can be dismissive of silly propositions.  But one has the impression it’s the silly propositions, not their defenders, who are being casually dismissed.

Where Machiavelli appeared tense and agitated as he approached the lectern for his first rebuttal, Marx looked as relaxed as his worn tweed jacket.  Resting his hands on the edges of the podium, he gave Machiavelli a warm, avuncular smile, then turned to address the audience.

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Marx: Mr. Machiavelli did me a favor by focusing on what he called my ‘peculiar theory’ of truth.”

”From the 19th century Hegelians I railed against, to 21st century American democrats, liberals have pragmatically found the question ‘What is truth?’ abstract, irrelevant, boring.”

”But applying my theory to today’s troubled events—the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan,  Georgia, Montenegro, India and Sudan, the in-process collapse of the global economy, and the United States’ lurch toward fascism—convinces me that wrangling about the nature of truth may, for a time, become a universal preoccupation.”

“Perhaps by ‘peculiar’ Machiavelli meant he’s having difficulty understanding my theory.  His review of it certainly suggests he has faint comprehension.”

“Twice, he accused me of proposing truth doesn’t even exist.”

“He couldn’t be more wrong!”

“At another point, apparently deciding I do believe in truth after all, he exhorted: ‘For a scientist, truth is discovered. For Marx, it’s not discovered, it’s created.’”

“And with that observation he became half right.”

“Let me begin, then, by stating my position clearly.”

“I believe in truth!”

“Furthermore, being a materialist, I believe EVERY truth is at once a product of discovery AND creation.”

“To illustrate:”

“I consider the 7-year-old boy who declares a 100-lb weight ‘really heavy,’ to be objectively correct.”

“But when an Olympic weight lifter proposes the same weight is ‘remarkably light,’ I regard his contrary description as no less objectively true.”

“For most people it’s an objective truth that peanuts are a healthy food and penicillin’s a life-saving drug.”

“For large minorities, the objective truth is both are deadly poisons.”

“Most of you would describe the leaves on the oak trees outside this Center as green, though you’re aware millions of people would observe them as gray.”

“If, like Mr. Machiavelli, you metamorphose into an absolutist when judging that color blind minority, you will argue they fail to see ’the truth’.”

”On the other hand, if you remain a materialist, you’ll reason they see what the truth’ is for people with their visualizing equipment; a truth no less objective than your own.”

“Scientists observe (and Machiavelli keeps insisting his approach is scientific), that just as no two people have the same fingerprints and no two snowflakes are exactly alike, so no two of the 6.7 billion humans on earth have identical eye structures, or identical neurons to transmit visual images, or identical areas of the brain to organize and interpret what their eyes are seeing.”

“As a consequence, if all 6.7 billion stood before me now, the indisputable material reality is no two of them would have precisely the same image of Karl Marx.”

“According to Machiavelli’s absolutist metaphysics, all objects and events have finite dimensions which a genuinely objective individual may discover.  Therefore, to ask: ‘Which of the 6.7 billion people comes closest to seeing the real Marx?’ is, for him, a perfectly logical question.”

“But it’s a fatuous question for me!”

“Being an empiricist, I regard every truth as a product of an ‘out-there’ viewed, the in-here’ of a particular viewer, and, the unique relationship between them; concluding each of  the 6.7 billion would have his/her equally objective personal view of my appearance.”

“As I said in an 1842 debate with Prussian censors: ‘The essence of the mind is always the truth itself.’”

“Physicist P.W. Bridgman made this simple point when he asked: ‘If measurements vary right along with variations in our measuring instruments, and, if the human brain is but the measuring instrument par excellence, does it not follow that what is true for one brain is, for another brain differently coded,  false, and, that both brains are correct?’”

“Now, I would agree with liberals that discussions about the meaning of truth are ‘abstract, irrelevant and boring,’ IF our concern were limited to things like weights, peanuts, penicillin and the color of leaves; things with respect to which the majority of people have common experiences, and, as a consequence,  share common definitions and truths.”

“But it isn’t!”

“We are all intimately involved with, affected by, and therefore deeply concerned about, momentous issues: wars and revolutions, the building, maintenence, dismantling and replacement of productive-distributive orders, the very evolution of human history. And with respect to such vital matters, individuals and communities often have different, at times mutually exclusive, experiences and interests, making the question ‘What is truth?’ of paramount importance for anyone who seeks to understand how we got here, and where it is that we are headed.”

“Mr. Machiavelli was right when he said I agree with Hegel that consciousness and experience–knowing and doing, theory and practice–are ‘a unity’ for everyone.”

“He was right that where Hegel reasoned communities formulate new philosophies which then lead them to carry out fundamental material changes, I contend it’s always injurious material changes communities suffer which prompt them to defensively transform their assumptions about what truth is, where it comes from, and how it gets passed around; i.e, which induce a community to create and internalize a new Spiritual Quintessence.”

“In short: ‘I found Hegel standing on his head and put him on his feet!’  ‘Life is not determined by consciousness,’ I’ve consistently argued, ‘but consciousness by life.’”

“How does my inverted Hegelian logic enable us to acquire a scientific understanding of history?”

“Stay with me!  It’s not really hard to understand.”

“If consciousness and experience are a unity, it logically follows that whenever you declare something is a ‘fact’ (an idea of superior value) you implicitly declare the superior value of the experience which produced it; and, assuming you aren’t psychotic, you reveal your intention to act in ways consistent with, ergo protective of, that experience right along with the facts it yields.”

“It also follows that for anyone who will be hurt by a continuation of your experience—i.e., for someone who’s being injured by what you’re doing—your simple statement of ‘fact’ is a menacing expression of intent; not a disclosure of ‘fact’ at all, but a declarations of your pernicious values and objectives.”

“Sociologist Lewis Wirth put it succinctly, when he wrote: ’Since every assertion of a “fact” about the social world touches the interests of some individual or group, one cannot even call attention to the existence of certain “facts” without courting the objections of those whose very raison d’etre in society rests upon a divergent interpretation of the “factual” situation.’”

“Material examples of the socio-economic-political truth discovery-creation process are all around us:”

“Respecting U.S. and British media depictions of Israel’s practice vis-a-vis Palestinians, a Palestinian businessman recently observed:”

”’Occupied Palestinian territories are called “disputed”  . . . Illegal settlements built on demolished Palestinian lives, homes, confiscated lands and farms, are called “neighborhoods”, the occupiers are called “settlers” in the tradition of the European immigration to the US and Australia. . . . Gaza has been turned into one of the biggest prisons in the world, /but/ the resistance to Israel’s occupation is labelled “terrorism”.”

“In an April 4th, 2004 news briefing, General Richard Myers and then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld described Iraqis fighting against American forces as ‘terrorists,’ and ‘thugs.'”

“On the same day, Al Jazeera referred to them as ‘resistance fighters defending Iraq against a U.S. occupation,’ and the Iraqnet Information Network called dead Iraqi fighters not ‘terrorists,’ but ‘martyrs.’”

“Which of these diverse characterizations are correct?  For a materialist, all are equally objective!”

“Each of the combatants is fighting to preserve their social existence in a situation which does not permit all of them to succeed, and their definitional disagreements merely express their underlying material conflicts with words.”

“According to the materialist perspective, all our truths represent our experience, and, since no one either is, or could possibly become, an indifferent observer of his experience, that means all our truths bespeak our interests.”

“Philosopher Leszek Kolakowski was making this point when he inquired: ’What justifies our belief that the visual world of a fly, made up of light and dark spots of neutral colors, is less “authentic” or less “true” than ours, except the fact that ours is better adapted to our needs?,’  ’In all the universe,’ Kolakowski concluded, ‘man cannot find a well so deep that, leaning over it, he does not discover at the bottom his own face.’”

“As I reminded Prussia’s censors: ‘One and the same object appears differently to different individuals and expresses its various sides in as many various intellects.’ Like a Prussian censor, Mr. Machiavelli ‘conceive/s/ the truth abstractly and turn/s/ the mind into an inquisitor who dryly records the proceedings.’”

“Intent on discovering ‘absolute truths’ he believes exist independently of the interests of individuals and communities who accept or reject them—truths passively waiting to be discovered—Machiavelli is unable to say anything meaningful regarding the material basis of human history’s unfolding.”

“Employing his absolutist metaphysics and epistemology leads Mr. Machiavelli to depict objects and events as static; whereas, experience tells us they are always and inevitably dynamic.”

“Machiavelli speaks a language of  that ‘is’ and this ‘is,’ in a universe of ceaseless process and becoming.’”

“Acorns are in-the-process-of-becoming-saplings, saplings in-the-process-of-becoming-oak-trees, oak trees are in-the-process-of-becoming-dead-trees, if utilized by humans, in-the-process-of-becoming-firewood, tables or chairs.”

“Fertilized human eggs are in-the-process-of becoming-embryos, embryos in-the-process-of-becoming-fetuses, fetuses in-the-process-of-becoming-babies, babies in-the-process-of-becoming-children, children in-the-process-of-becoming-adults, etc.”

“So it is, too, with our orders of production and distribution.”

“When you look back, is it not indisputable that hunting and gathering tribes were in-the-process-of-becoming-nomadic-slave-communities, nomadic slave communities were in-the-process-of-becoming-feudal-societies, and feudal societies were in-the-process-of-be-coming-capitalist-states?”

“Yet to the question ‘How did this happen?,’ Mr. Machiavelli’s absolutistist paradigm provides no empirical, i.e., no scientific answers.”

”When the creative,  protective-of-social-existence, component of truth is acknowledged everything suddenly starts to make material sense.”

“Our paleolithic hunting and gathering ancestors were animists who believed the forests that furnished them game, the rivers which offered fish, the meadows that provided berries, all possessed spirits which could be propitiated with the proper ceremonies and iconic symbols.”

“The Spiritual Quintessence of those tribal communities wasn’t written by a minority with an elite social existence to protect.  It was born of, and directly expressed, experiences and interests shared by every community member.  It was, in that regard, an egalitarian logic. (You’ll note Mr. Machiavelli conveniently misunderstood my argument on this issue).

“Obviously, none of the hierarchically structured communities which followed the hunters and gatherers could have functioned if they had attempted to employ the self-understanding/Spiritual Qunitessence of the hunting and gathering world.”

“Needing to increase their populations during their early stages of development, as well as the populations of animals being domesticated, nomadic slave communities defensively originated fertility gods to appease, many of which were believed to have animal forms.”

“Since maintaining their social existence sometimes required them to fight other nomadic-slave tribes, they  created/prayed to both gods of war and gods of peace.  The fact that they were often most effortlessly sustained by working with, rather than battling, the other nomadic communities—which had somewhat different experiences/interests, and, therefore, somewhat different gods—was an additional material reason for all of them to practice polytheism.  Not until settled communities began to be established in the fertile Nile Valley did monotheistic faiths become pragmatic logics.”

“Like their hunting and gathering and nomadic-slave predecessors, Europe’s feudal communities also required a distinctive consciousness/Spiritual Quintessence to exist.  Being hierarchically structured but stationary, to reproduce their social existence they created a philosophy which proposed God determined everyone’s position in life, one that dictated serfs must be submissive to royalty, royalty and serfs submissive to the Roman Emperor, and to the Pope, Bishops, Cardinals and priests who wrote and directed the application of Religious Absolutism, which was the Spiritual Quintessence of settled land-owning-agricultural-elite orders of production and distribution. In appropriately modified form, I noted, Religious Absolutism is presently the Spiritual Quintessence of Asian, African and Middle Eastern raw material-elite communities.”

“As I explained in my opening remarks, via the same defensive/conservative process, feudal systems were, in turn, succeeded by hierarchically structured financial-industrial-elite (capitalist) orders, which created, and continue to employ, their own unique Spiritual Quintessence for their perpetuation.”

“Which brings us to what is for you a vital question:”

“If Religious Absolutism was feudalism’s Spiritual Quintessence, what, then, is the Spiritual Quintessence of the capitalist productive-distributive order; i.e., what is the internalized understanding with which capitalist communities reflexively justify and direct that order’s minute-by-minute, day-by-day, year-by-year preservation?”

“Why, it’s Scientific Absolutism, of course! The very philosophical paradigm Mr. Machiavelli so enthusiastically promotes!”

“Based on the proposition all truth comes from God, is found through prayer and revelation, then disseminated by religious authorities, the feudal order’s metaphysics and epistemology, was wholly inadequate for building and maintaining a capitalist order of production and distribution.”

“Capitalist elites would have to personally oversee the construction of factories, and the design, operation and repair of machinery, along with intricate financial transactions; all tasks which required them to take control of their lives, rather than appealing to God through church figures and feudal aristocrats.”

“The capitalists needed banks to service their commercial operations.  But, Europe’s feudal-elites proscribed the creation of national banks, even as they sowed the seeds of their order’s destruction by enriching the bankers of Venice and Genoa with deposits of stolen wealth—in Spain and Portugal’s case—wealth gleaned from the people through indulgences in the case of the clergy.

“Capitalist communities would need secular laws in place of feudalism’s restrictive regal edicts, binding legal agreements in lieu of vague expressions of loyalty and personal commitment. The secular laws were urgent for giving the capitalists’ agreements legitimacy, as were secular courts to make the laws enforceable, and secular police to do the enforcing, and to make the capitalists’ lives and fortunes secure.”

“In sum, to perpetuate their social existence it was necessary for the capitalists to create and internalize a secular Spiritual Quintessence, one which rationalized and directed a revolutionary dismantling of the feudal productive-distributive system with its landed aristocracy, and the building/maintenance of a hierarchically structured financial-industrial-elite order in its stead.”

“Now, if you’re a materialist who focuses on what people DO, not on what they SAY, it’s evident that for industrial-elite communities around the world, Scientific Absolutism has been that Spiritual Quintessence.”

“As land-holding/agricultural-elite (feudal) societies became financial/industrial-elite (capitalist), the church was replaced by the university everywhere, the priest by the professor; a change often sudden and striking.”

“Prior to the U.S. Civil War, the president of nearly every major college and university was a theologian who looked out upon the world through the prism of Religious Absolutism.  Only a decade after the war, the heads of most major institutions of higher learning were scientists or businessmen with Scientific Absolutist perspectives.”

“In 1917 the Russian Revolution brought the same dramatic paradigm transformation to the U.S.S.R..  Theologians were swept from philosophy and social science departments almost overnight, their places taken by Leninist ‘Marxists’ who, as Machiavelli correctly noted, employed a Scientific Absolutist interpretation of my theory.”

“Nietzsche remarked the natural and necessary metamorphosis in consciousness that accompanied the birth of capitalism, observing: “God is dead, and we have killed him!”

“But capitalist communities were not going to be equalitarian, with workers and the poor deciding what was true for themselves.  Like the feudal church and its theologians before them, capitalist universities and professors would ‘deliver truth’ to the masses.  Unlike the priests, however, the professors would find their capitalism-sustaining truths through what they sincerely believed was ‘impartial and objective investigation,’ rather than through prayer.”

“Western capitalist nations, and the academicians who create-discover the ideas needed to justify and defend their hierarchically structured productive-distributive orders, have reasoned Marxist propositions will inhibit, if not prevent, the discernment of socio-economic-political ’reality’. Their Soviet, Chinese, Vietnamese, et. al counterparts, on the other hand, have insisted absolutistic Marxism alone can lead one to ‘the truth’.”

Since their disagreements have only been about techniques/methods/procedures, not about metaphysics and epistemology (i.e., not about what truth IS and how it’s determined) they are able to adopt one anothers positions with the same ease that Methodists become Catholics or Presbyterians become Baptists; no paradigmatic transformation/change of Spiritual Quintessence  is involved.”

“Moreover, as Frederich Nietzsche, William James, F.C.S. Schiller, John Dewey, Leszek Kolakowski and other materialists discovered, capitalist country academics East and West have defended Scientific Absolutism against Relativism with an aggressivity equal to that of the 18th century European priests who protected the feudal logic.”

“Having given you a scientific-materialist explanation for absolutistic interpretations/applications of my theory, I’ll return to what is for you the critical issue: where the U.S. and world community are currently at, and, where I believe they are headed.”

“Declaring our species inherently evil, Mr. Machiavelli concluded his rebuttal by throwing up his hands and announcing he supports the U.S. global strategy, which, to cite him, he considers: ‘a strategy that’s both an imperative, and, the lesser evil.’”

“Let me begin my more sanguine perspective with an assertion I made at the close of my opening statement:”

“The U.S. economy, (along with much of the global economy), is being held together by  increasingly destructive U.S. military-industrial expenditures and operations.”

“Granted, it used to be true that the defense industry, however injurious or fatal for hundreds of  millions of  the Third World poor, helped sustain the United States’ economic viability.”

“Following World War II, the rapidly growing populations and deepening poverty of non-industrialized Asian, African and Latin American nations began leading many children of their middle classes and elites to the conclusion they needed to dismantle their countries’ agricultural/raw-material systems of production, carry out land reform, and industrialize.”

“Unfortunately, from the U.S. perspective, their only sources of money for industrializing were U.S., and to a lesser extent, British and French, agricultural, raw-material, communications and banking industries.”

“So, they started confronting large American interests with expropriation.”

“Cuba’s seizure of U.S. sugar, tobacco, gambling and other industries; Chile’s take over of Kennicott and Anaconda Copper, I.T.T. and U.S. banking corporations; Nicaragua’s confiscation of U.S. owned or controlled banana, sugar, coffee, beef and tobacco operations, and the growing threat posed by Indonesian pro-industrial forces during Sukarno’s presidency are prime examples.”

“The United States’ response?   I mentioned it earlier:”

“Learning from the failure to retain its profitable Cuban interests, the U.S. aggressively employed financial and economic pressures.  More importantly, it used, and got threatened Third World agricultural and raw-material elites to use, military force, driving Allende, Ortega and the Sandinista National Liberation Front from power.  It advised, subsidized and provided CIA assistance and military equipment for overthrowing Sukarno and slaughtering 800,000 pro-industrial Indonesians.  It killed 3,000,000 Vietnamese and other Southeast Asians, successfully stopping the drive toward threatening industrial development in that region.”

“That accomplished, the U.S. began loaning/granting vast sums of money to all the Third World countries in which it had large investments, and/or from which it profitably obtained agricultural and raw-material products, or which provided land access and waterways vital for defending American interests: Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, the Philippines, etc., enabling them to purchase huge quantities of U.S. weaponry to keep their increasingly restive populations in check.  It also sold, in Israel’s case donated, billions-of-dollars worth of arms to allied industrial nations that helped protect its Third World interests, or, which shared the benefits of its oppressive foreign policy.”

“For everyone (everyone except the Third World peoples being subjugated or killed), that policy worked well for over half a century.  U.S. investments in Third World countries were protected, as were the wealth and hegemonic existences of those countries’ raw-material and agricultural elites.  At the same time, U.S. arms-manufacturers, producing everything from F-15s, F-16s, and F-22s, B2 bombers, nuclear bombs, smart bombs, cluster bombs, phosphorous bombs and bunker-busters, hand grenades, fueling tankers, unmanned aerial vehicles, Blackhawk helicopters, Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, jeeps, Paladin Howitzers, automatic rifles, M-40 sniper rifles, uniforms, armored vests, helmets, battlefield kitchens, and, memorial gear for the servicemen who didn’t survive, reaped billions-of-dollars in profit yearly.”

“Gradually, however, with its non-defense manufacturing being exported to Mexico, Taiwan, China and India, the huge cost of arms production associated with its ’hold the restive bastards down’ foreign policy became so embarrassingly enormous that today Americans no longer admit its dimensions even to themselves.”

“Chalmers Johnson has noted: ‘In an attempt to disguise the true size of the U.S. military empire, the government has long hidden major military-related expenditures in departments other than Defense.  For example $23.4 billion for the Department of Energy goes toward developing and maintaining nuclear warheads; and $25.3 billion in the Department of State budget is spent on foreign military assistance (primarily for Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Republic, Egypt and Pakistan).  Another $1.03 billion outside the official Department of Defense budget is now needed for recruitment and re-enlistment incentives for the overstretched U.S. military, up from a mere $174 million in 2003, when the war in Iraq began.  The Department of Veterans Affairs currently gets at least $75.7 billion, 50 percent of it for the long-term care of the most seriously injured among the 28,870 soldiers so far wounded in Iraq and 1,708 in Afghanistan. . . . Another $46.4 billion goes to the Department of Homeland Security.’”

“’By 1990 the value of the weapons, equipment and factories devoted to the Department of Defense was 83 percent of the value of all plants and equipment in U.S. manufacturing.  From 1947 to 1990, the combined U.S. military budgets amounted to $8.7 trillion.  Even though the Soviet Union no longer exists, U.S. reliance on military Keynesianism has, if anything, ratcheted up, thanks to the massive vested interests that have become entrenched around the military establishment.’”

“Robert Higgs, ‘a senior fellow for political economy at The Independent Institute,’ suggests: ‘A well-founded rule of thumb is to take the Pentagon’s basic budget and double it.’  ‘Some 30-40 percent of the defense budget is ‘black;’ ‘meaning, /Johnson adds/, ‘that these sections contain hidden expenditures for classified projects. There is no possible way to know what they include, or whether their total amounts are accurate.’”

“’The Pentagon’s 2009 budget doesn’t even include money for actual wars,’ Tom Engelhardt observes.  Those ‘wars are all paid for by “supplemental” bills like the $162 billion one Congress /recently passed/.’‘The Pentagon not only produces stealth planes, it is, in budgetary terms, a stealth operation.  If honestly accounted, the actual Pentagon yearly budget, including all the ‘military related’ funds salted away elsewhere, is probably now more than $1 trillion.’”

“The producer and vender of more than half the world’s weaponry, the U.S. has over 730 overseas bases; and ‘more than 50 percent of income tax dollars goes to the Pentagon.’”

“Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing rank 1st, 2nd and 3rd on the list of global arms producers, and all three are Fortune 500 corporations.  Boeing and Lockheed Martin each have weapons contracts with a yearly value in excess of $19 billion, Northrop Grumman, approximately $16 billion.  CorpWatch estimated Lockheed Martin received $105 from every U.S. taxpayer in 2007.”

“With ‘annual revenues of $20 billion,’ relates Michael Dickinson, ‘Raytheon, manufacturer of the 100 bunker buster bombs kindly flown by America to Israel at the height of their bombardment of Lebanon, and supplier of electronic equipment for the apartheid wall built on Palestinina land . . . /is/ the world’s largest producer of guided missiles, and fifth largest defense contractor in the world, provider of aircraft radar systems, weapons sights and targeting systems, communication and battle-management systems, and satellite components.’”

“American academic institutions are profiting greatly. ‘Since 2000,’ writes Bryan Farrell: ‘universities have seen defense-related research contracts increase 900 percent, from $4.4 billion in 2000 to $46.7 billion in 2006. . . . Penn State pulled in $1.6 billion in endowment funds last year, a 20 percent increase over the previous year . . . Not surprisingly, such corporate gifts come from defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Exxon Mobil, which, in exchange, get the privilege of recruiting students to work for the war machine . . . Since Penn State is home to one of the U.S. Navy’s top civilian research facilities, . . . science and engineering students are a prized commodity to the ever-expanding defense industry.’”

“Senators and members of Congress have become heavily dependent upon defense industries for the money needed to run for office.  Matt Taibbi points to the ‘influx of cash from would-be military contractors’ in the 2008 election, observing: ‘John Lehman, a former secretary of the Navy whose firm builds the Superferry transport vessel, not only donated $28,500 of his own money, but bundled at least $250,000 for McCain from other donors. Donald Bollinger, who is a contractor on the controversial Littoral Combat Ship, gave $27,300 and bundled a whopping $500,000.’”

“The legislators are also reliant on voters who either work for, or, whose counties, cities and states are dependent upon military bases and/or defense corporations. ’With bases, factories or other components of the military-scientific complex in almost every congressional district,’ Saul Landau laments, ‘it is unlikely to see a groundswell to drastically reduce the military budget.  Indeed, some corporations that service the military, with weapons or science, exert serious pressure to not withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq and dismantle bases that have become beyond obsolete.’”

“Many legislators own stock in defense corporations, Associated Press writer Anne Flaherty reports: ‘Members of Congress have as much as $196 million collectively invested in companies doing business with the Defense Department, earning millions since the onset of the Iraq War . . .  Overall, 151 members hold investments worth $78.7 million to $195.5 million in companies that receive defense contracts . . . These investments earned them anywhere between $15.8 million and $62 million between 2004 and 2006.’”

“Dividing the high figure of $62 million by the 151 members of congress with defense company investments gives one an average per-member profit of $410,596.  If the lowest total profit estimate of $15.8 million is used, the average is $104,600.  Not a bad take from a killing machine venture either way.”

“Defense spending has become so lucrative, and so vital for keeping the U.S. economy afloat, that immense waste expenditures are blithely ignored.  ‘According to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO),’ relates Taibbi: ‘The Department of Defense has already “marked for disposal’ hundreds of millions of dollars worth of spare parts—and not old spare parts, but new ones that are still on order!  In fact, the GAO report claims that over half of the spare parts currently on order for the Air Force—some $235 million worth, or about the same amount that /Senator Bernie/ Sanders unsuccessfully tried to get for the community health program last year—are already marked for disposal!  Our government is buying hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Defense Department crap just to throw it away!  “They’re planning on throwing this stuff away and it hasn’t even come in yet,” says Sanders.’”

“Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney recieved a small amount of attention but no answers to her question: ‘What happened to the $2.3 trillion dollars’ the Pentagon ‘quietly’ disclosed was ‘missing’ from its funds on the day before 9/11?”

“Predictably, Pentagon officers, defense industry executives and legislators who make hay together, often play together. ‘Pentagon elites and high government officials are teeing off at taxpayer expense at hundreds of courses all over the planet,’ notes Nick Turse.  Many of the golf courses are on U.S. military bases.”

“Now the crucial question about consciousness:  How has the U.S. rationalized its all-out militarization of the globe?”

“From the late 1940s, to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989-91, Americans told themselves they were battling ‘socialist-communist’ enemies inspired by me, aided/abetted by socialist-communist Russia and China.  That was the vaporous and unexamined logic initially used to build its awesome military-industrial complex, and to manufacture, distribute and employ its terrible wares in defense of Third World interests.  It was America’s ‘operative foreign policy truth.’”

“What material evidence did the U.S. have to support that ‘operative truth’”?

“About the same amount Spanish Inquisitionists had when they put Jews on the rack in the name of Christ, or the Taliban has to justify disfiguring women’s faces with acid for the pleasure of Allah.”

“Anyone who has bothered to read my writing knows that what the Soviet Union, China and Third World revolutionaries were/are saying and doing has had nothing whatsoever to do with my concept of socialist revolution or socialism-communism in practice.”

“It was a fundamental axiom of my theory that after a socialist revolution everyone would receive the same wage, enabling each working person to acquire an equal share of the nation’s production of  goods and services: From each according to his ability, to each according to his work.’ Following the failure of the Paris Commune in 1871 I modified this prediction, but only slightly.  For a brief period I suggested, the highest paid might receive twice the income of the lowest.”

“However, to quote from my Critique of the Gotha Program, there would be residual inequality in a socialist organization of society because: ‘one man is superior to another physically or mentally; one worker is married, another not; one has more children and so on.  Thus with an equal output, and an equal share in the social consumption, one will in fact receive more than another.’”

“Although initially ‘inevitable,’ this problem would resolve itself, I concluded.  As the socialist order of production and distribution matured it would become communist, wherein the operative principle would be: ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’”

“Clearly, at no point has any of this described the Soviet Union or China, where new, albeit progressive, anti-feudal, pro-industrial elites were already forming while their revolutions were in progress; elites who were, and are, as socio-economically removed from their nations’ poor as any found in the West.”

“I argued that because everyone seeks, gains and utilizes political power in defense of their social existence, so long as one segment of society enjoys an elite existence, its members will automatically acquire greater political authority to protect it, and a political state will continue to exist under their control.”

“Since a socialist revolution would bring the end of inequality, I reasoned (and continue to believe), no one would any longer need political power.  Ergo, no one would pursue it, and politics, along with the political state, would die a natural death.  Only an administrative structure for the equitable distribution of community goods and services, would remain. Furthermore, as in the Paris Commune, the socialist administrators would all be subject to immediate recall by the people.”

“Would any of you seriously suggest this has described  post-revolutionary Russia, China, Cuba or Vietnam in any way, at any stage?

“Then, there’s the matter of personal freedom.”

“Whatever you may think of my theory, I insist my reasoning is at least syllogistic.  Only a political state has the power to control freedom of speech, press, and assembly I noted: ‘Censorship is criticism as government monopoly’. Since neither a political state nor political authorities would exist under socialism, I concluded freedom of speech, press and assembly would be unrestricted.  People would now decide for themselves who was right and who was wrong, what was true, and what was false.’”

“‘Freedom of the press proceeds on the presumption of anticipating world history,’ I wrote, ‘sensing in advance the voice of the people which alone has hitherto judged which writer was “competent,” which “incompetent.”  ’Freedom is so very much the essence of man that even its opponents realize it, in that they fight its reality.  They want to appropriate that most costly jewel, which they will not consider the jewel of human nature.  No man fights against freedom; at most he fights against the freedom of others . . . the free press is the omnipresent open eye of the spirit of the people, the embodied confidence of a people in itself . . .  It is the ruthless confession of a people to itself  . . . The free press is the intellectual mirror in which a people sees itself, and self-viewing is the first condition of wisdom.”

“To those who argued freedom of the press would bring hurtful changes to society, I replied: ‘Freedom of the press causes “changeable conditions” as little as the astronomers’ telescope causes the perpetual motion of the planetary system.  Wicked astronomy!’”

“Could I have stated my view on this subject any more clearly?”

“As for the materially indefensible proposition that Russia, China, Cuba, Vietnam, or any other self-proclaimed socialist-communist country has ever acted upon that view—Please!”

“Insisting orders of production and distribution are razed only if and when they have lost the ability to maintain the social existence of those who tear them down, I argued a dismantled order could no more be resurrected than a dead tree or dead animal can be brought back to life.  People living in feudal communities would not be able to restore a hunting and gathering or nomadic slave way of life; citizens of a capitalist society would find it impossible to reconstitute a feudal structure; and members of a socialist community would be unable to reestablish a  capitalist-world existence.”

“The Soviet Union/Russia, China et al., past or present?”

“Then, there’s the issue of state ownership of/control-over property and the means of production.  Soviet and Chinese leaders have often described that as a distinguishing feature of socialism, and most U.S. politicians have opportunistically agreed.  I, on the other hand, argued that the unification of property, corporations and the state, occurs during the advanced stages of capitalist production.  However, unlike socialism, I noted, state-capitalism defends the hegemonic social existences of a financial-industrial elite first, rather than serving all members of the community equally.”

“In making that argument, I reasoned as follows:”

“During the early period of capitalist production factories were small and manufacturers were able to obtain sufficient money (which I call ”surplus value”), from workers to build and repair their factories and machines.  But, as the number of individuals and nations forced to adopt capitalist production to survive increased, so, too, did the aggressivity of their competition. In time it became impossible for capitalists to extract enough surplus value from workers to construct the large factories, and install the costly equipment, which competing required.”

“At that point, I observed, it became necessary for capitalists to obtain the requisite funds by selling stocks and bonds; which I described as ‘seeds of socialism,’ since it meant the capitalists were relinquishing a modicum of control over their corporations.  Eventually, I argued, with more and more capitalist nations coming into existence, factories becoming ever-larger, machines more sophisticated and expensive, even the sale of stocks and bonds no longer provided sufficient money, and it now became necessary to glean surplus value from everyone via the state.”

“But, as I’ve indicated, with the benefits of production still accruing mainly to a financial-industrial elite, state-capitalism was/is no less capitalistic; a point my colleague Friedrich Engels emphasized in his essay ‘Socialism: Utopian and Scientific,’ writing:”

“’/T/he transformation, either into joint-stock companies and trusts, or into state ownership, does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces.  In the joint-stock companies and trusts this is obvious.  And the modern state, again, is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists.  The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine, the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital.  The more it proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more does it actually become the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit.  The workers remain wage-workers-proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with. . . . State ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form the elements of that solution.’”

“As you’re undoubtedly aware, the U.S. government has long provided American agriculture about $4 billion dollars yearly, most of that money going to the biggest producers, along with tens-of-billions-of-dollars to pharmaceutical corporations and other capitalist industries in the form of grants, and hundred-of-billions in tax write offs.”

“Today, with large banks and mortgage institutions being rescued with enormous sums of government dollars—$170 billion to AIG, $350 billion to Citi Group and other banks, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s debts taken over and Big-3 auto industry executives waiting in line, while at the same time the government resists pressures to save desperate middle class homeowners from losing their homes—surely my argument respecting the marriage of finance, industry and the state under capitalism requires no further defense.”

“Mr. Machiavelli argued that finding neither the U.S.S.R. nor China adopted my relativistic interpretation of history proves I was wrong.  To the contrary, my theory provides a material explanation for what transpired in the U.S.S.R. China and other self-styled ‘socialist-communist’ nations, a point Machiavelli managed to miss.”

“Because the primary objective of everyone’s political consciousness and practice is to secure their own social existence, I reasoned that if some members of a revolutionary contingent have privileged social existences they automatically take control of the revolution in order to defend them.  As a result, when an established order has been razed and its elites have been expropriated, discovering that to move any further in the direction of equality will mean expropriating themselves, the revolutionaries promptly cease their revolutionary practice.  To quote myself here: ‘As the main thing is not to be deprived of the fruits of civilization, of the acquired productive forces, the traditional forms in which they were produced must be smashed.  From this moment the revolutionary class becomes conservative.’”

“In ‘The New Class: An Analysis of the Communist System,’ Milovan Djilas convincingly documented that my theory, and Engels’ depiction of state-capitalism, aptly describe the origin and operation of Russian-Soviet and East European systems.“

“To be sure, Soviet and Chinese leaders pragmatically believed they represented socialist-communist construction; much as Spain’s inquisitionists believed they were doing the work of God; or the Nazis believed they were building a 1,000 year humanitarian utopia; or Israel believes it’s carrying out God’s will when it expropriates, ethnically cleanses, oppresses, maims and kills Palestinians; or (staring hard at O’Reilly and Hannity), FOX News pundits believe FOX’s programming to be ‘fair and balanced.’”

“But, anyone who holds that people and nations, like things, are defined by what they do, not by what they think or say, will dismiss all such presumptuous, self-serving declarations.”

“Prior to the Russian Revolution its leaders—Mensheviks and Bolsheviks alike—accepted that part of my theory (a part Thomas Jefferson would have understood), which describes all revolutions and all revolutionaries as conservative, in that they dismantle inadequate systems of production and distribution and build more beneficient ones, in order to be socio-economically sustained.”

“Recognizing Russia’s feudal system could no longer maintain the country’s growing population, the Russian revolutionaries argued Russia, like France, England, Japan and Germany before it, needed to undergo a capitalist revolution.  After Russia lost a war with Japan in 1905 Lenin, Trotsky, et al., urged the country’s financiers and manufacturers to lead one.  When they failed to do so, consistent with my logic, the revolutionaries decided they would have to oversee Russia’s capitalist revolution themselves.  Arrested and tried for promoting a capitalist revolution in 1905, Trotsky addressed the court: ‘Gentlemen of the judges. You fail to understand that, in the context of the time, we revolutionaries are the true conservatives.’”

“The Bolsheviks, and most Mensheviks, predicted Russia’s capitalist revolution would break the country’s economic ties with Western Europe, throwing the latter deeply into crisis.  Since West European states were already capitalist, the revolutionaries reasoned that to survive the crisis they would be forced to undergo socialist revolutions.  In turn, they concluded, European socialist revolutions would throw Russia back into a crisis it could resolve only by having a socialist revolution of its own.”

“In sum, a capitalist revolution in Russia would ’spark’ socialist revolutions in Western Europe, which would then ’spark’ a socialist revolution in Russia. The Bolsheviks even named their newspaper  ‘Iskra’ (‘The Spark’).”

“When Russia had its anti-feudal revolution and West Europeans were not ’sparked’ into carrying out socialist revolutions, Russian anarchists began demanding that the Bolsheviks proceed with establishing a classless-egalitarian society in the Soviet Union anyway.”

“Lenin was adamantly opposed.  He argued, (plausibly, I believe), that in order to industrialize the Soviet Union would need the expertise of its businessmen, engineers, metalurgists, chemists, biologists and other professionals, all of whom enjoyed a socio-economic status well above that of the average Soviet citizen.  Many of those professionals had already gone into exile in Western Europe or the United States.  If the elite existence of those who remained was not protected Lenin insisted, they, too, would leave; making industrialization impossible, and socio-economic-political chaos a certainty.  Therefore, the U.S.S.R. must concentrate on building a capitalist structure, as originally planned.”

“Furthermore, Lenin reasoned, because England, France and the U.S. had no serious competitors when they established their capitalist systems, they were able to start with small firms and gradually proceed to ones which were large.  The U.S.S.R. on the other hand, was going to industrialize in a world already dominated by huge corporations which operated internationally.  To compete in that world would require starting with firms of grand scale; and that would necessitate tapping the energies of everyone via the state, just as Japan and Germany had done before it for the same reason.  For now, Lenin concluded, the U.S.S.R. needed to focus on becoming state capitalist.”

“In a famous speech given in June 1921,  Lenin exhorted:”

“’The alternative (and this is the last ‘possible’ and the only sensible policy) is not to try to prohibit or put the lock on the development of capitalism, but to try to direct it into the channels of “state capitalism.”  This is economically possible, for state capitalism—in one form or another, to some degree or other—exists wherever the elements of free trade and capitalism in general exist.  Can the Soviet state, the dictatorship of the proletariat, be combined, united with state capitalism?  Are they compatible?  Of course they are.  This is exactly what I argued in May 1918.  I hope I proved it in May 1918.  Nor is that all.  I then proved that state capitalism is a step forward compared with the small proprietor (both small-patriarchal and petty-bourgeois) element.  Those who juxtapose or compare state capitalism only with socialism commit a host of mistakes, for in the present political and economic circumstances it is essential to compare state capitalism with petty-bourgeois production.’”

“Which brings us to a consequential question for you inhabitants of the present/builders of the future:”

“If there was not a whit of material evidence the Soviet Union, and subsequently China, were socialist; if, to the contrary, all the material evidence described them as state-capitalist nations; if their only links to socialism were abstract claims made by political representatives of neuveau financial-industrial elites (at the time of Lenin’s speech, Trotsky remarked that Lenin alone would dare to make such an honest public statement), how did the U.S. ever come up with its preposterous narrative?”

“Who were its authors?  Who its most vigorous promoters?  What did they mean by “communism?  And, why did Americans act out acceptance of their fairytale; not merely workers, but academicians, movie moguls, scientists, almost everyone?”

“Who it was that authored, then aggressively promoted, the U.S. anti-communist crusade against a mythical communist threat is hardly a mystery.”

“It was the political representatives of defense industries and corporations with menaced Third World, particularly Latin American, investments; other people joining in as they found that doing so was vital for protecting, often enhancing, their own interests as well.”

“Mr. Machiavelli contends they were merely lying to defend the state.  I’ll let you decide.”

“Years before the formation of the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities, defense company executives and their legislative representatives were already engaged in suppressing union leaders whose ‘communist’ efforts to increase defense company workers’ wages were found to be a threat.”

“Similarly, the Communist Control Act of 1954, passed by both houses of Congress, specifically prohibited Communist Party members, who were trying to improve the lot of workers, from holding official positions in labor unions.”

“The government used this and other acts ‘to investigate and harass’ any organization which demonstrated communist leanings’ by taking the side of workers in  their conflicts with corporations, or Third World countries in their struggles against U.S. companies, or blacks in their battles against whites.”

“Furthermore, how the elite interests involved defined ‘communism’ was clear:  ‘That which threatens my economic interests is communist,’ and the more it threatens, the more ‘communist’ it becomes.”

“But why did Americans, one-and-all, act out agreement with the elite’s fairytale, the majority enthusiastically, a  minority with reluctance, a few kicking and screaming in protest while, like the others, they continued their daily routine of work, school and paying taxes, in other words, went along?”

“Would you offer the liberal-absolutist explanation that they did it because they were ignorant of their own ‘true interests’ and needed to be enlightened?”

“Or—as my theory argues—was it another instance of people internalizing, then, acting upon, an understanding necessary for protecting the social existence of the nation’s elites because doing so was the least disruptive way to maintain their own less favored interests; including that of liberals, most of whom, however reluctantly, also marched in step?”

“During the Vietnam War, I was amused to note that the majority of American war protesters seemed able to convince themselves they ‘really were’ what they thought, wrote, read and said, rather than what they did; as, like everyone else, they participated in the mass killing of Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, and subsequently, Nicaraguans, Salvadorans. and others.”

“Hundreds of academicians were writing and speaking against the war, while acting-out the same acceptance and support as the war’s capitalist proponents.”

“Ironically, since the latter were often adept at avoiding taxes, it’s probable some protesters did more than many pro-war capitalists when it came to assisting that project; a project which was destroying the lives of the very people with whom the protesters claimed to identify, and for whom they claimed to care.”

Was this yet another instance of mass ignorance?   Or, was it one of people conveniently believing that which most effortlessly sustained them?”

“The minority of American protesters who did accept culpability had little difficulty justifying their cooperation with the on-going exploitation, oppression and slaughter of Third World poor.”

“They (correctly?) told themselves there was really no effective way to stop.”

“Move to England, Germany or France?  Those countries not only supported the U.S. effort, they were carrying out their own Third World suppressions.”

“Take up exile in the U.S.S.R.?  Although the Soviet Union’s state-capitalists were self-interestedly providing a moderate amount of assistance to Third World liberation movements in regions dominated by the U.S., they were equally energetic when it came to protecting their own hegemonic existences by stepping on the poor at home and in Eastern Europe.  During the Great Depression Russia’s state-capitalists had demonstrated there were no limits to the depravity they would be willing to manifest in defense of their favored socio-economic situations.”

“Let me return, now, to the matter of America’s deeply troubled immediate situation.”

“As I noted in my opening statement, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and ending of the Cold War, U.S. defense budgets fell throughout the 1990s and employment in the defense industry went down with them; more than 2 millions defense industry jobs were lost between 1992 and 2001.”

“In The End of America, Naomi Wolf observes: ‘the U.S. defense industry was staring into the face of a falling market share.  To grow it would have to find a new enemy.  It would also help if it expanded its product line from building fighter jets to the newfangled demand for applications involving surveillance.’”

“As I also observed in my opening remarks, with the United States’ economy depressed, with much of its manufacturing base exported, and the largest, most profitable, remaining industries military-industrial in nature, representatives of the U.S. elite whose social existences were most in jeopardy predictably discovered/created that requisite enemy, one whose defeat would require the country to spend from hundreds of billions, to incalculable trillions of dollars on military hardware and military conquest: namely, Islamic and assorted other ‘terrorists,’ meaning anyone who stands up against the United States’ increasingly injurious practices in their countries.”

“First on the list of Islamic terrorist threats was oil rich Iraq.”

“For many major U.S. corporations, I noted, the financial benefits coming from the invasion of that country were immediate.”

“To briefly recall some of those benefits:”

In March 2004 the San Francisco Chronicle reported:

“’. . . the invasion provided a multi-billion-dollar boost to the United States’ largest construction and engineering firms.  Although Bechtel Corp. and Halliburton have received the most public scrutiny, the billions of tax dollars pouring into Iraq’s reconstruction also flow through such competitors as Parsons Corp., Fluor Corp. and Washington Group International.  For sheer size of contracts, none of the reconstruction firms can rival Halliburton . . . . The company, once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, holds contracts potentially worth between $12.6 billion and $16.8 billion.  Bechtel won $2.83 billion in contracts for repairing electrical plants, water systems, airports and railways.’”

“As for U.S. weapons manufacturers: ‘Since September 12, 2001’, writes Robert Dreyfuss, ‘defense spending has exploded.  For 2008, the Bush Administration /has/ request/ed/ a staggering $650 billion, compared to the already staggering $400 billion the Pentagon collected in 2001 . . . U.S. defense spending in 2008 will amount to 29 times the combined military spending of all six so-called rogue states: Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.’”

“Between 9/11, 2001 and June 2007, President Bush also requested, and Congress granted, $44 billion for biological warfare research. BASF, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly Corp, Monsanto and Pfizer are among the many companies reputed to be involved.”

“Momentarily, then, like the campaign against Third World ‘communists’ which preceded it, the anti-terrorist crusade, formulated and promoted by representatives of defense industries, oil corporations and global construction firms like Halliburton and Bechtel, other Americans submissively/pragmatically in tow, has unquestionably done a lot to help keep the troubled U.S. economy afloat.”

“Declaring that its core mission’ is ‘to enhance the ability of state, local and tribal governments to prepare, prevent, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks and other disasters,by 2003 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the chief instrument for persuading Americans to enlist in, and benefit from, the new crusade, had already provided states and counties $9 billion.”

“What constitutes ‘countering terrorism’ has, of course, been left conveniently vague.”

“Huntsville, Alabama was given $70,000 to turn an abandoned mineshaft into a nuclear fallout shelter, just in case muslim terrorists get their hands on a nuclear weapon.  In 2006 Worcester, Massachussets purchased a $514,000 ‘Mobile Command Center’ truck with ‘a 40-foot-high panoramic camera and multiple communications devices.’  Martha’s Vineyard was granted $900,000 to ‘upgrade one of its harbors with fencing and video cameras.  And five North Dakota fire departments were recently granted $581,000 to ‘help boost their ability to respond to emergencies in their communities.’”

“The volunteer fire department of Cheshire, Massachussetts, a town of 3,500 people, was given a Homeland Security Grant of $665,962; though it was told it could not use the funds to purchase the new fire truck it badly needed.  The endowment amounted to a gift of $190,275 for each Cheshirean,  more than enough, one supposes to produce Alice In Wonderland smiles.”

“With the U.S. now in a deepening recession, Washington Post reporter Spencer Hsu writes the DHS has announced it will give ‘state and local agencies . . . $3 billion in counter-terrorism grants in 2009, with fewer strings attached than in past years.’ It will also permit more of the distributed money to trickle down, ‘allow/ing/ recipients to spend up to 50 percent of homeland security grants for personnel expenses, up from 25 percent . . . a concession to sharply tightening budgets at all levels of government.’”

“Unfortunately for Americans of conscience and humanity the new crusade has  particularly ominous features.”

“While moderately helpful where propping up many state and local economies is concerned,  the U.S. anti-terrorist crusade, merged with a Homeland Security program reminiscent of Nazi Germany, is not only devastating Third World peoples, it poses a growing threat to the freedom of Americans, to many, a threat to their lives.”

“Consider the inherent weaknesses of this new campaign, relative to its anti-communist predecessor:”

“Leaders of the anti-communist jihad were able to empirically define their enemies; namely, anyone (or anything) which threatened them with expropriation.”

“They could point to those enemies: specific Third World countries, Chile under Allende, Nicaragua under the Sandinistas, Castro’s Cuba, North Vietnam, Sukarno’s Indonesia.”

“They could identify specific enemy organizations: political parties, revolutionary groups and trade unions, as well as specific individuals: liberation movement leaders, left-leaning Third World artists, professors and priests.”

“Finally, they could identify specific countries—the U.S.S.R. and China—which sympathized with, at times supported, the mythical Third World ‘socialist-communist’ movements.”

“Today’s anti-terrorist crusaders are almost overwhelmed by problems in all of these respects.”

“To start with, they have found it impossible to clearly identify their enemies, or, to determine who their leaders are. They initially described the principal enemy as ‘al Quaida,’ calling it a tight-knit organization directed by the wealthy Saudi, Osama bin Laden; though they’ve had some difficulty deciding how their enemies’ names are spelled: ‘bin Laden’ or ‘bin Ladin,’ ‘al Quaida’ or ‘al Quaeda;’ not a very propitious beginning for a national campaign.”

“Having declared al Quaida the leading terrorist enemy, the anti-terrorist crusaders have had great difficulty deciding who is and who isn’t, a member of, allied with, or supportive of, that organization.”

“Under the crusaders’ direction, the U.S. initially argued Saddam’s Sunni tribesmen were associated with al Quaida. Later, needing the Sunni’s assistance to counter Iran’s growing influence in Iraq, it changed its mind and began paying large salaries to Sunnis who backed Iraq’s Shia-dominated government.”

“No less problematic for the anti-terrorist jihadists, while industrial nation arms dealers may sell the ’terrorists’ weapons, not a single industrialized country has openly defended them or any of their terrorist acts.  In addition, although the U.S. has accused Iran of fomenting Islamic terrorism in Iraq, most of the material evidence counters that proposition.  Iran is actually supportive of the Iraqi government put in power by the U.S., convinced it’s interests are thereby best protected.”

“From week to week, the U.S. has vacillated about whether, and to what degree, Pakistan is behind, or against, its anti-terrorist crusade, which Afghani organizations, tribes and individuals are enemies, which of them are friends.”

“Then, there are the crusaders’ ‘demonstration terrorists’ captured and imprisoned at Guantanamo, Cuba.  Wolf relates a Seton Hall University investigation found ‘most of the Guantanamo prisoners are innocent, and were swept up by Northern Alliance warlords in Afghanistan simply because the United States had offered bounties of up to $5,000 per prisoner, a major sum for that area.’”

“To compound the difficulties confronting the anti-terrorist crusaders, 12 of the 19 terrorists who were said to have carried out the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon which generated the crusade, were later determined to still be alive.”

“Worse still, polls reveal more than half of the U.S. population reject the government’s account of 9/11, believing members of the Bush Administration were either complicit, or, at least aware the attacks were going to happen.”

“The leading ’9/11conspiracy theorists,’ who are demanding a new, more thorough investigation of that event, include 861 architects and engineers, many of national repute; hundreds of scholars; more than 90 pilots, including test pilots, pilots of the latest fighter jets, and pilots with 30-plus years experience flying large commercial airlines; scientists who not only argue the World Center buildings were brought down by controlled demolition but have presented compelling physical evidence to that effect; and firefighters, some of whom were on the scene when the WTC towers fell.”

“Conversely, only a few scientists, and virtually no experienced pilots or firefighters have attempted to defend the anti-terrorist jihadists’ telling of 9/11; and the conspiracy theorists have adroitly revealed their arguments to be implausible, duplicitous or silly.”

“Yet, the major problems facing the U.S. anti-terrorist crusaders notwithstanding, their campaign is continuing unabated.  In late July, 2008, the defense department released a ‘strategy paper’ which placed ‘the “long war” against extremism above potential conventional challenges from China and Russia as the top priority of the U.S. military in coming years. . . . For the forseeable future, winning the Long War against violent extremist movements will be the central objective of the U.S.,’ the strategy paper continued.  And ‘U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates defended the new strategy, saying it is an attempt to incorporate the lessons learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.’

“Now, when the leaders of a crusade necessary for securing their hegemonic social existences are unable to clearly identify their enemies, their enemies’ leaders, or their enemies’ allies; when they aren’t even sure how to the spell their enemies’ names; when their accounts of enemy operations are continually refuted by material evidence and logical argument, often by simple common sense, it’s clear they are going to have difficulty unifying the nation behind their cause;  and that difficulty will become insurmountable insofar as their crusade loses its ability to secure the social existence of the general population.”

“Throughout history, whenever the consciousness/truth necessary for protecting a nation’s elite began turning into error for a large minority (an understanding which could not maintain their social existence) the elite has reflexively turned to the ultimate instrument for achieving national unification: force!”

“Is the U.S. elite moving in that direction?  As I also argued in my opening statement, the clear answer is YES, and with alacrity!”

“’By October 2001,’ Naomi Wolf relates, ‘the USA Patriot Act, /which/ topped 400 pages, was rushed through Congress. Lawmakers passed it overwhelmingly, though many said that they had scarcely read it.’”

“’In July 2002, the Bush Administration rolled out Operation TIPS, the Terrorist Information and Prevention System, which sought to recruit ‘a million letter carriers, meter readers, cable technicians, and other workers with access to private homes as informants to report to the Justice Department any activities they think suspicious. . . . Though Congress prohibited the administration from funding TIPS, according to the ACLU, a version of the program was simply shifted to the Pentagon’s ‘black budget.’ . . . /In addition/,  a Defense Department program called Talon created a database of ‘anti-terror’ information about peaceful U.S. citizens and activists.’”

“’Within days of the 9/11 attacks,’ Wolf observes, ‘security companies were lobbying airport and government officials to invest in new technologies of surveillance.  Six years later, the surveillance industry is huge. . . . In 2003, business writers estimated that this burgeoning industry was worth $115 billion a year.’   ‘A 2003 study found that 569 companies had registered Homeland Security lobbyists after 9/11’. The New York Times reported that ‘the major defense contractors want to move into the homeland security arena in a big way.’  ‘Dr. William Haseltine, who sits on the boards of many of the organizations that analyze this industry, . . . says that the ‘security-industry complex’ rivals the ”military-industrial complex” in influencing policy.’”

“Unfortunately, not only for Americans, but for the world, the ‘security-industry complex’ and the ‘military-industrial complex’ are merely different features of the same crusade.”

“The Military Commissions Act, passed in October 2006, ‘gives the president the authority to establish a separate justice system for trying unlawful enemy combatants.’”

“How are ‘unlawful enemy combatants’ defined?   The Bush government’s declared position was that the president has the authority to designate anyone, including any U.S. citizen, an ‘enemy combatant.’ Furthermore, notes Columbia University Law Professor Michael Ratner, he can ‘detain them for whatever reason he wants. . . . /T/here are no charges and prisoners have no lawyers, no family visits, no court reviews, no rights to anything, and no right to release until the mythical end to the ‘war on terror.’”

“With a mere ‘signing statement,’ ‘Bush struck down Posse Comitatus, which has prevented, with a penalty of two years in prison, U.S. leaders since after the Civil War from sending military forces into our streets.’ In September 2008, the Army Times reported that ‘for the first time an active /U.S. Army/ unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.’  ‘That brigade,’ notes, is ‘the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.  /It/ has spent most of the last four years fighting a war in Iraq, and will now be assigned on a permanent basis to engage in numerous domestic functions—including, as the Army Times article put it, ‘to help with civil unrest and crowd control.’”

“Among the many additional signs of approaching despotism:”

* Security corporations,’ identified by sinister flags and other dark icons, and employing private armies of grim-faced mercenaries, are now carrying out American foreign policy in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia: Blackwater U.S.A. (recently renames ‘Xe’), Custer Battles LLC, Wolverine Solutions, Global Risk Strategies, and Steele Foundation.”

* “Airlines use ’no fly’ and ‘watch lists’ furnished by the federal government to prevent a small number of individuals from flying and harrass a million others.  Beginning in 2009, under a new program called ‘Secure Flight’, the Department of Homeland Security will oversee airport screening.  Airports have also begun using terahertz radiation scanning machines which look through clothing to give airport security agents an invasive (and pornographic), image of passengers bodies.”

* “The National Security Agency (NSA) ‘Domestic Wiretapping Program,’ under which AT&T wiretaps phone conversations in secure locations set up for just that purpose.  AT&T and other  telecommunications companies which engage in domestic surveillance have also been granted immunity from prosecution.”

*“American cities with populations of 50,000 or more now have SWAT teams of heavily armed, black-clothed and black-helmeted officers who, without judicial warrants, and disregarding the 4th Amendment guarantee ‘against unreasonable search and seizure,’ break into the homes of suspected drug dealers and other ‘criminals’.”

* “Small town Post Offices across the U.S. no longer deliver local mail directly.  Under federal orders, the local mail is taken to a city which has equipment to examine it for explosives, anthrax and other biological weapons, then routed back for delivery.”

* “Computer repair shops are paid to download the files of ‘politically suspicious’ individuals to new hard disks and forward the original disks to a government agency.”

* “In 2006, the Halliburton subsidiary KBR was granted $385 million to construct ‘detention centers’ capable of housing 400,000 ‘aliens’ and ‘potential terrorists.’”

“Fascism has been coming to America!, Wolf asserts, and she’s unquestionably correct.”

“However, for those who seek a free and humane future for coming generations, the problem with Wolf’s analysis is that it suddenly floats free of the physical world.”

“Having recognized that leading members of the military-industrial complex created/discovered their anti-terrorist crusade in order to perpetuate themselves, Wolf suddenly abandons her material analysis of what’s occurring and enters the world of abstraction.”

“To reverse what she calls a ‘fascist shift,’ Wolf naively urges freedom loving Americans to join hands androll back the laws that are associated with the opening of the door into darkness.’  ’We still have the choice to stop going down this road,’” Wolf asserts. ‘We can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.’”

“If only it were that easy to determine history’s course.”

“Wolf is right, of course, where each of you is individually concerned:  Nothing and no one can make you go along with fascism, whatever others may elect to do.”

“But, getting enough Americans to join hands and reverse the process requires a far more serious exploration of the material reasons for the sharp turn toward fascism than Wolf has offered, a turn occurring not only here in the U.S. but in England and Australia, and, to a lesser extent, in Germany, Italy and France.”

“Let’s try, then, to bring the discussion back to the world of our shared material reality.”

“Robert Jensen identified the heart of the problem, though, having done so, he, too, stopped.”

“We live in a system that, taken as a whole, is unsustainable,’ Jensen argued, ‘the nation-state and capitalism are at the core of this unsustainable system.’”

“The implicit question which needs to be asked and answered is Why? What is it about the capitalist productive-distributive order and the nation-state that’s making them ‘unsustainable?

“I discussed capialism’s mounting destruction of the environment and world health, in my opening remarks.”

“Now, I’ll focus on its inherent economic contradiction, the contradiction I have always insisted would eventually bring this remarkable system down.”

“Stated succinctly, capitalism’s inherent contradiction is that in order to compete capitalists must make production ever more cooperative/socialized, while consumption, on the other hand, remains essentially non-cooperative/non-socialized, with the inevitable result that periodic crises of over-production and under-consumption occur: too few people receiving enough money to purchase all the goods the vibrant system churns out.”

“To date, at critical junctures that problem has been painfully remedied through a mass destruction of consumers and consumables in war.  World wars One and Two resolved crippling global economic depressions that way.  The leading capitalist countries made instruments of war, then used them to kills tens-of-millions of each others consumers, along with billions of dollars worth of weaponry and hundreds of billions of dollars worth of basic necessities, including factories and homes.  The wars also gave the winning capitalist nations access to new sources of raw materials, and new markets for their finished products. Even the financial-industrial elites of countries which lost such inter-capitalist wars have usually profited greatly.”

“However, as Japan and Germany demonstrated following WWII, factories destroyed in war are inevitably rebuilt to be yet more productive, aggravating the inherent problem over time.”

“While Engels and I identified capitalism’s inherent contradiction 167 years ago and predicted its ultimate resolution, neither of us ever imagined the desperate situation 21st century capitalist nations have managed to create.”

“Automated and cybernated machines are now doing more and more of the production, creating a vast and rapidly-growing international army of extraneous workers, ’white collar’ as well as ‘blue collar’. Nuclear weapons have rendered full-scale war between industrialized nations impossible; while national economies have become so thoroughly integrated and inter-dependent that for a capitalist nation to try alleviating its problem of over-production and under-consumption by devastating a major Third World country or two would be to devastate itself, along with other First and Third World nations.”

“Recognizing that the preservation of their favored social existences required that the mass of people must be able to purchase the goods their increasingly cornucopean, but environmentally destructive, systems of production were turning out, but intent on making that possible without any forfeiture of social existence on their parts, the capitalists of Western industrial nations—the U.S. and England in the lead—created an immense credit bubble using money borrowed from China, Japan and the Middle East.”

“Now that credit bubble has (predictably) burst, and the American capitalists whose hegemonic social existences derive from arms production, oil and oilfield technology, have joined forces with representatives of global engineering and construction firms to make a last stand’ defense of the capitalist order of production and distribution with an anti-terrorist jihad.”

“When their last stand begins to suffer the fate of George Armstrong Custer’s at Little Bighorn, as it inevitably must–since there’s no way on earth the capitalist system will be able to maintain the social existence of most Americans over the next decade–the anti-terrorist crusaders’ only remaining option will be to identify a large segment of the U.S. population as terrorist enemies, then proceed to plow them under.”

“Grasping what’s happening, Naomi Wolf has called for a revolution to turn the country around.  But, as with every revolution, turning the U.S. around will require that Americans take a cold-eyed look-in-the-mirror and honestly tell what they see.”

“Since my first-rebuttal time is nearly up” (actually Karl, it was up over half an hour ago), “I’ll only very briefly describe what I think the cold-eyed look will reveal.”

“To begin with, it won’t be necessary to move beyond the nation-state, since, practically speaking, the nation-state no longer exists!  All of the social, economic and political characteristics which identified nations have already been erased.  It will only be necessary to recognize that universally shared material fact.”

Moreover, most of the nation-states defining characteristics have been erased by capitalists, busily engaged in defending their hegemonic social existence.”

“Several tens-of-millions of Mexicans, South Americans, Chinese and other Asians, have entered the U.S. ‘illegally,’ and the minority who have sufficient funds for paying the requisite bribes go in and out with ease.   Why have they been permitted to enter?  Because the poverty in their home countries makes them willing to work for low wages, thereby benefiting American, German, French, and English capitalists by keeping their own nations’ wage-scales low; the profitability of many large industries, poultry, beef, pork, clothing manufacturing, has become directly dependent upon the employment of illegal low-wage workers.”

“It’s no longer possible to purchase a ‘foreign’ car.  All the leading U.S., Japanese, German, Korean and British car manufacturers now manufacture their cars and trucks in each other’s countries, including Volkswagen, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Kia, and Hundai.  Furthermore, in most cases the states and large cities in which ‘foreign’ auto plants are located paid the firms tens-of-millions of American tax dollars to move there.”

“While General Motors and Chrysler executives are pleading for assistance, including bailouts, to keep their U.S. production going, along with Ford, they are heavily invested abroad.  GM’s Buick is the biggest selling car in China, where its Hummer is also doing remarkably well.  Both cars are made in that country.  Ford Rangers, a big seller in China and Malaysia, are likewise manufactured and/or assembled in those countries.”

“GM is presently constructing a $350,000,000 plant in Russia, to build cars that will be sold there.  Given the growing profitability of GM and Ford’s overseas operations and their loss of profitability in the U.S., a cynic might wonder if their not-so-long-run intention is to close down much of their American production, using bailout money to pay for the process.”

“Americans, like their European, Asian and Latin American counterparts, have acquired global food tastes, enjoying tacos, burritoes, couscous, falafel, sushi, Thai curry, wonton soup, fried noodles, sweet and sour pork, pita bread, dolmathes, brie, roquefort and camembert cheese, and wines from France, Chile, Australia, Germany, and a couple dozen other countries.”

“Europeans commonly speak English and at least one other language besides their own.  Chinese Malaysians are generally fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and Malay as well as one or two local dialects.”

“That dwindling minority of Americans, French, Chinese, British, etc. who are not at all internationalized are by and large less educated inhabitants of small towns and remote country regions.”

“In short, little remains of nation-states except flags, national anthyms, and memorial celebrations.

“With capitalists leading the way, we’ve created a world in which national icons have become as out of place and atavistic as the face paint and feathers of hunters and gatherers, the fertility statues and identifying tents of nomadic slave communities’, and the coats of arms and painted saints of feudal Europe.”

“The ultimate irony, of course, is that the singing of national anthyms and the waving of national flags is most energetically promoted by the very capitalists who’ve had to make those icons irrelevant in order to preserve their favored social existence.”

“Howard Zinn summed our situation in an article entitled ‘Put Away the Flags’, saying: ‘We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation.’”

“But what, exactly, would ‘asserting allegiance to the human race’ entail?

“To begin with, it would entail admitting the species nature of the brutal things we people  collectively do.  The Sunni terrorist bomber, the U.S. infantryman killing Iraqis, the West Bank Palestinian who shoots Israelis, the Israeli pilot strafing Palestinians and the drug dealer in a Los Angeles ghetto who shoots members of a rival gang, are all engaged in the same operation: trying to kill people who threaten their social existence.  Either all of them are to be equally condemned or none of them are.”

“‘To put it a little differently, ‘asserting allegiance to the human race’ will entail ceasing to identify people as ‘good’ or ‘evil,’ ‘enemies’ or ‘allies’. It will mean comprehending all people have the same basic objective and that a way must be found to enable everyone to reach it.”

“Where the poor of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, the Philippines and other poverty ridden Third World countries is concerned, that would mean informing them the U.S. is going to stop  destroying their lives by dumping cheap industrial manufacture, and by occupying their territory to procure oil and other raw materials; that henceforth the U.S. will work with them to facilitate their secure entry into the modern world.”

“Respecting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ’asserting allegiance to the human race’ would involve acknowledging and condemning Israel’s fascistic and oppressive practices vis-a-vis Palestinians, cutting off all assistance, both military and financial, now being given to that country.”

“On the emotional level, it would entail being enraged at the injustice and inhumanity of the evening news encouraging Americans to shed tears because ‘terrorists’ killed 200 people in Mumbai, but to feel nothing about the 650,000 to 1,500,000 Iraqis slaughtered by, or because of, the U.S. invasion of their country.”

“To end on an optimistic note, while believing the capitalist productive-distributive system is on its death bed, I also continue to believe:”

“‘No social order ever perishes before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have developed; and new, higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself.  Therefore mankind always sets itself only such tasks as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely, it will always be found that the task itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution already exist or are at least in the process of formation.’”

“A hundred-and-one solutions for the problems capitalism has caused, but is unable to resolve, are already being proposed, and the creativity that will be released when all the members of the human community consider themselves to be working as a team, is sure to produce myriad others.”

“As for where the money will come from to pay for the massive programs needed to assist Third World peoples, repair our badly polluted planet, construct rapid transit systems, provide everyone with adequate medical care, etc., an equalitarian society will immediately confront the question: Do we really want to bother with money when there are so many other equally efficient or more efficient ways to regulate and record our interchanges.”

“No one has ever accused me of being naive, and I expect the trilogy of capitalist interests behind the anti-terrorism jihad will become violent when masses of people begin acting upon the demand that capitalism metamorphose into socialism.”

“However, they will quickly discover the deck is stacked against them. Their fellow capitalists, those who have exported their manufacturing operations, will follow their investments and banked money abroad, rather than stay in the U.S. to aid in a counter-revolutionary struggle.  In addition, the tactics available to 21 century revolutionaries, blocking bridges and tunnels with abandoned rented vehicles, hacking CIA, FBI, military, police and energy-grid computers to bring society to a halt will prove impossible to counter.”

“I have a lot more to say on these and related topics, but I may have already gone over my alloted time.”

With an apologetic shrug of his shoulders, and wearing a resigned expression, Marx  returned to his chair.

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Machiavelli and Marx Debate III

Machiavelli’s First Rebuttal

Chronicled by Theosophus

We /conservatives/ believe that America is a superior society not because Americans are superior human beings, but because our culture was founded on a recognition of our God-given natural rights—the “unalienable rights” referred to in the Declaration of Independence.  From that awareness flows a basic, shared respect for humanity, individual liberty, limited government, and the rule of law.                                                                                                   Sean Hannity

History has demonstrated time and time again that disciplined, just societies prevail, while weak, utopian systems crash and burn. . . .  The world is, and always has been, a struggle between good and evil. Bill O’Reilly

The fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives is: Conservatives believe man was created in God’s image; liberals believe they are God.                                                                                                                                               Ann Coulter

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Machiavelli bent awkwardly forward in his chair while Marx spoke.  His face still wore Dick Cheney’s condescending sneer.  But, unlike Cheney, whose demeanor is perpetually languid, Machiavelli was clearly agitated.  Every now and then his right leg pumped nervously. Springing to his feet the moment Marx finished, he rushed to the podium and began speaking before Marx got back to his seat.

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Machiavelli: “Velo!”

“Dr. Marx insists he’s a scientific materialist.”

”But he has given us ample material proof that he’s not!”

“A scientific materialist deals with reality/with ‘truth’!

“Not Herr Marx!”

“In Marx’s bizarre world ‘truth’ is whatever individuals and communities acting in defense of their interests say it is.”

“In his world the questions: ‘What would it benefit me to believe?’ and ‘What is objectively true?’ are the same.”

For a scientist, truth is ‘discovered!’ For Marx, it’s not discovered, it’s ‘created.’”

“It is this wondrous proposition that truth doesn’t exist which holds all the pieces of Dr. Marx’s elaborate theory together.”

“Yet, he hasn’t offered us one scintilla of empirical evidence in its support.”

“He simply posited that the earliest hunting and gathering communities understood truth and practical solution to be one, then conjured his way to the idealistic conclusion that their relativistic consciousness will be universal in the post-capitalist world his too-fertile imagination describes.”

(Giving Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly and Neil Cavuto, a meaningful ‘we’re-all-in-this- together’ look, Machiavelli continued . . . ).

“Like the great majority of people, no doubt like most of you, I place Marx’s amazing hypothesis about the non-existence of truth in the same category as a belief the moon’s inhabited, or, that Planet Earth is flat.”

“Science, he forgets, is based upon the conviction objective truths exist—independently of what anyone might want—and, that it’s a scientist’s obligation to determine what they are.”

“Unlike Dr. Marx, I am a scientist!”

“To repeat Paul Mattick’s apt characterization of my position: ‘A true Machiavellian separates scientific questions concerning the truth about society from moral disputes over what type of society is most desirable.’”

“Adopting Marx’s peculiar theory would not only mean abandoning science, it would mean discarding its universally spoken language as well.”

“Science defines ‘truth’ as: ‘synonymous with observer-independent facts’, i.e., with ‘reality.’”

“’Those are only fictions,’ Marx protests.”

“Scientists speak of views which are ‘biased’ or ‘distorted;’ meaning they are biased away from/distortions of, ‘the truth.’”

“’More fantasy’, says Marx.  No observer-independent ‘objective truths’ exist which one’s personal views might be ’biased away from’ or ‘distort’.”

“Scientists caution against false prophets:’ people (like Dr. Marx?), who present deceptively appealing arguments that misrepresent reality/distort ‘the truth.’”

”Science honors ‘geniuses:’ individuals who discover fundamentally important features of reality.”

“‘False prophets?’  ‘Geniuses?’ ‘Objective’ and ‘impartial’ understandings’?”

“They’re all mythical conceptions, according to Marx’s abstract logic; leaving those of us committed to science not simply puzzled, but stunned; since, according to the dictionary: ‘myths are distinguished by their failure to be based on fact or scientific study.’”

“One is left wondering what Marx intends when he speaks of ‘fantasies’ and ‘myths’. What does he suppose an idea which isn’t ‘fantasy’ or ‘myth’ is, if it’s not an idea that’s objectively true?”

“He agrees leaders often lie.  But what is there to lie about, other than ‘the truth?’”

“Dr. Marx calls himself a ’dialectical’ materialist.”

“But central to the belief that reality and our consciousness of it are dialectic is the proposition that knowing what things are involves knowing what they are not: i.e., being able to identify their opposites.  Hot is the opposite of cold; east, the opposite of west; up, the opposite of down; big, the opposite of small; good, the opposite of evil.  And error?  What can that be, pray tell, if it isn’t the opposite of truth?

“’All truths are relative!’, Marx insists; though he apparently believes that particular assertion alone to be ‘absolutely true?’”

“Dr. Marx’s paradigm literally makes my head spin, and I suspect your head may be spinning too.”

“Let me try to bring the debate back to reality with a genuinely materialist consideration of socio-economic-political truth.”

“To begin with, lacking any empirical evidence how the first homo sapien communities thought, we can only speculate.  However, I find it reasonable to suppose that, like hunters and gatherers today, they had voodooists, shamans and medicine-men, whose principal function was to discover ’the truth’; however convinced you and I may be that they often failed at the endeavor.”

“As for subsequent nomadic-slave and feudal communities, we have several thousand years of material evidence that one-and-all of them were absolutist where truth was concerned.”

“They were religious communities, and a belief in objective truth has always been a pivotal feature of every religion.”

“According to Christianity’s Holy Bible, God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat fruit from ’the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,’ revealing he had not granted humans the authority to decide for themselves what was truly good and what was truly evil.”

Genesis describes merely presuming to have such omniscience as diabolic.”

“When Satan told Adam and Eve if they ignored God’s proscription and ate the forbidden fruit they would ‘be as gods, knowing good and evil,’ he wasn’t proposing they’d acquire the ability to differentiate between good and evil. That’s a faculty Christianity, like other faiths, grants to everyone. Choosing good over evil is considered critical for Christians if they would enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

“No, the Bible describes Satan’s appeal as, well, downright Satanic.”

“By eating the forbidden fruit, he urged, Adam and Eve would gain that ultimate power religions grant only to their gods: the power to dictate the very nature of good, and evil.”

“Capitalist country scientists generally distinguish their industrial-world metaphysics from those of nomadic slave and feudal states by proposing values are indeed relative, while facts are not.”

“However, unlike Dr. Marx, they do not dispute that values, too, have observer-independent, objective dimensions.”

“Common sense tells us if they didn’t we would not be able to identify them, or give them names, or, point to instances of their application.”

“It is because values have an objective existence, that people with different values always dispute the facts which they claim support their own.”

“This is everyone’s material reality, and there are no exceptions!”

“Marx and I are agreed, then, that both the values and the interpretations-of-fact of communities with clashing economic, social and political interests will also be in conflict.”

“Where we disagree is that Marx proposes all fact-value understandings are equally valid and cannot be given an authoritative justification.”

”Being a scientist who believes in objective truth, I hold that the facts and values of  individuals and communities can be dispassionately identified, then, defended or opposed.”

“As I emphasized in my opening remarks, an objective look at the world reveals the primary value of a leader is the preservation of his state, upon which the lives and well-being of his people depend.”

“An objective look also reveals that while there may be times when preserving his state requires a leader to employ authoritarian methods, over the long run, he will not be able to do it unless he has the voluntary/democratic support of his people.”

“Which is why I endorse the current U.S. foreign policy.”

“No other country has so faithfully defended the democratic values spelled out in the American Bill of Rights: freedom of speech, religion and assembly, freedom from ‘unreasonable searches and seizures,’ the right to bear arms, and the right to a speedy trial by a jury of one’s peers when accused of a crime.”

“Now, let’s take an objective look at Dr. Marx’s fanciful theory of history:”

“Understand!  While I believe it to be wrong, I recognize his reasoning is logically consistent; just as I recognize Ptolemy’s reasoning about the physical universe was logically consistent, but wrong.”

“Google ‘Copernicus’ and you’ll discover there are still Ptolemaists; as, remarkably, there are still a few people who believe Earth is flat.”

“However, scientists understand that the Ptolemaic system, like the flat Earth theory, is not a materialist explanation. It does not objectively describe our solar system, let alone the universe.”

“Consider, then. a few of the empirically indefensible conclusions Marx syllogistically drew from his bizarre metaphysics.”

“Having convinced himself all socio-economic-political consciousness is defensively created, accepted, modified or rejected, it followed that ‘classes’ are but: communities of people who find maintaining their social existence requires them to join forces and deny other communities of individuals the opportunity to do the same.”

“In The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte Marx said of the peasantry: ‘Insofar as millions of families live under economic conditions of existence that separate their mode of life, their interests, and their culture from those of the other classes and put them into hostile opposition to the latter, they form a class.’”

“Similarly, in The German Ideology he and Engels wrote of the bourgeoisie: ‘The separate individuals form a class only insofar as they have to carry on a common battle against another class; otherwise they are on hostile terms with each other as competitors.’”

“According to Dr. Marx’s relativistic metaphysics, if you tell a peasant, a worker or a capitalist he’s a member of a class and he rejects your designation, it is you, not he, who are wrong. His very rejection tells you that, under existing circumstances, for him to battle as a member of a peasantry, a working, or a capitalist class, is not the least disruptive way to preserve his social existence.”

“In writing and in speeches Marx, quite logically, directed his most aggressive attacks not against feudal lords or capitalists, but against Proudhon, Feuerbach, Left Hegelians and other absolutist liberals who, treating ideas and reality as independent of one another, proposed to rescue the masses by bringing them objective truth; something Herr Marx argues does not exist.”

“Marx was often scathing in his denunciations, writing:”

“’Since the Young Hegelians consider conceptions, thoughts, ideas, in fact, all the products of consciousness, to which they attribute an independent existence, as the real chains of men . . . the Young Hegelians have to fight only against these illustions of the consciousness.  Since, according to their fantasy, the relationships of men, all their doings, their limitations, are products of their consciousness, the Young Hegelians logically put to men the moral postulate of exchanging their present consciousness for human, critical or egoistic consciousness, and thus of removing their limitations. . . . They forget . . . that they are in no way combating the real existing world when they  merely combat the phrases of this world. . . . All forms and products of consciousness cannot be dissolved by mental criticism, by resolution into “self-consciousness” or transformation into “apparitions,” “spectres,” “fancies,” etc., but only by the practical overthrow of the actual social relations which gave rise to this idealistic humbug; . . . not criticism, but revolution, is the driving force of history, also of religion, of philosophy and all other types of theory.’”

“Marx insisted the masses would acquire an egalitarian consciousness only when defending their social existence made it imperative for them to do so.”

“On the other hand, being a utopian idealist, he deemed that magical situation was at hand.”

“The capitalist order of production and distribution was nearly drained of viability Dr. Marx reasoned, and workers would soon find themselves in the desperate circumstances which would turn them into a class: the proletariat.”

“To quote his wildly exaggerated description of the mid-19th century workers’ situation:”

“’Along with the constantly diminishing number of magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolize all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this too, grows the revolt of the working-class, a class always increasing in numbers, and disciplined, united, organized by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist production itself.’”

“After becoming a unified proletariat, Marx enthused, the workers were going to raze the capitalist productive-distributive system; then, they would build an egalitarian order in its place.”

“And they would do these things not because someone won them over to a revolutionary consciousness by bringing them ‘the truth’.  They would do them because they had to in order to survive.”

“’Things have now come to such a pass,’ Marx wrote, ‘that the individuals must appropriate the existing totality of productive forces, not only to achieve self-activity, but, also, merely to safeguard their very existence.’”

“’/I/t becomes evident’ he, again very logically, but  also very mistakenly concluded, ‘that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an overriding law.  It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery’.”

“I suppose if you’re a diehard supporter of Dr. Marx’s distorted logic you might protest it was nevertheless found indispensible, therefore ‘true,’ during and after the Russian and Chinese revolutions.’”

“If so, you would be wrong!”

“Consider the fate of Marx’s linchpin proposition respecting the nonexistence of truth.”

“In the late 1800s, Alexander Bogdanov, a philosopher, a physician, and a prominent member of the Bolshevik Party, began promoting that epistemological nonsense in Russia.”

“Bogdanov argued his relativistic-Machian interpretation of Marx’s theory—he called it  ‘Emperiomonism’—was correct, writing three volumes on the subject.  By the early 1900s Bogdanov’s popularity among Bolshevik leaders had become second only to Lenin’s.”

“Whereupon Lenin penned his famous rebuttal, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism; scornfully, but on this occasion, I would add, correctly observing:

“’The “naive realism” of any healthy person who has not been an inmate of a lunatic asylum or a pupil of the idealist philosophers consists in the view that things, the environment, the world, exist independently of our sensation, of our consciousness, of our self, and of man in general . . . . /O/utside us, and independently of us, there exist objects, things, bodies, and . . . our perceptions are images of the external world.’”

“Which epistemological construction of Marx’s theory won the day?  Which was said to empirically represent the Russian experience? “

“Vladimir Lenin’s, hands down! “

“Bogdanov the relativist was expelled from the Bolshevik Party in 1909, and played no role in the Russian Revolution.”

“In brief, in order to give Dr. Marx’s theory relevance, Lenin had to turn it back into the very kind of objectivist logic Marx himself had railed against.”

“The proletariat would not ‘create’ its own way forward, the Leninists decided. The  ‘way forward’ would have to be discovered by leaders, and the workers would need to be led.”

“In 1903, fourteen years before the Russian Revolution, Lenin wrote:”

“’The history of all countries bears witness that by its own resources alone the working-class is in a position to generate only a trade-union consciousness . . . The teaching of socialism has grown out of philosophical, historical and economic theories worked out by educated representatives of the possessing classes, of the intelligentsia.  The founders of contemporary socialism, Marx and Engels, belonged themselves by their social origin to the bourgeois intelligentsia.  Similarly in Russia the theoretical teaching of social-democracy has arisen altogether independently of the spontaneous growth of the workers’ movement, has arisen as the natural and inevitable result of the development of thought among the revolutionary-socialist intelligentsia.’”

“Post-1917, Lenin’s objectivist-Marxism became, to use Marx’s own terminology, the ‘Spiritual Quintessence’ of the Soviet Union’s self-understanding.  Reality possessed an observer-independent form, Soviet leaders thereafter contended; a form which, using their absolutist interpretation of Marx’s arguments, their ideas would reflect.”

“’Marxism,’ the Russian theorist V. Afanasyev reiterated in 1967: ‘is a science dealing with the ways and means of destroying capitalism, with the laws governing the creation of the new communist society . . . it is a science dealing with the conscious, purposeful, direction of social processes in the interests of man.’”

“During and after China’s revolution, Mao Tse-tung and other Chinese Communist Party leaders embraced the same objectivist , dare I say ‘deformation’?, of Dr. Marx’s theory.”

“’Facts’ are all the things that exist objectively.’ Mao instructed. ‘Truth’ means their internal relations, that is, the laws governing them’.  ‘We should proceed from the actual conditions inside and outside the country, . . . and derive from them, as our guide to action, laws that are inherent in them and not imaginary, that is, we should find the internal relations of the events occurring around us.  And in order to do that we must rely not on subjective imagination . . . but on facts that exist objectively’.  ‘We are Marxists, and Marxism teaches that in our approach to a problem we should start from objective facts, not from abstract definitions, and that we should derive our guiding principles, policies and measures from an analysis of these facts.’”

“Of course, I vigorously disagree with most Leninist and Maoist depictions of socio-economic-political reality.  But at least Russian and Chinese leaders have had the intelligence to recognize reality exists!”

“What, then, has been the fate of Dr. Marx’s theory in the West?”

“With very few exceptions, Western Marxists have given their high priest’s ideas the same absolutist construction it received in the East.”

“The British Marxist-philosopher Maurice Cornforth stipulated that by ‘truth’ he meant a ‘correspondence between ideas and objective reality.’”

“George Novack, a popular American Trotskyist, wrote an entire book distinguishing his ‘Marxist’ conviction truths are ‘demonstrably anchored in objective reality’ from pragmatist-philosopher John Dewey’s view that they are merely utilitarian constructs.”

“Respecting Dr. Marx’s most passionate anti-objectivist arguments, Western Marxists often felt it was important to explain he hadn’t really intended them to be interpreted that way.”

“Shlomo Avineri, an Israeli theorist, observed Marx’s ‘historicist attitude did not . . . lead Marx to mere relativism.’ Similarly, Melvin Rader, a leftist University of Washington philosopher stressed: “It would be a mistake to classify Marx as no more than a relativist.’”

“Louis Althusser, a French philosopher who from the late 1960s to the early 1980s spoke for much of the Left in France and Italy, carried the objectivist understanding of Marxism still further.”

“Perhaps finding it difficult to reconcile the relativism manifest in Dr. Marx’s writing with his own absolutist perspective, Althusser decided most of Marx’s theory remained to be formulated.”

“’Marxist philosophy,’ said Althusser: ‘founded by Marx in the very act of founding his theory of history, has still largely to be to be constituted, since, as Lenin said, only the cornerstones have been laid down. . . . The Marxist theoretical practice of epistemology, of the history of science, of the history of ideology, of the history of philosophy, of the history of art, has yet in large part to be constituted.’”

“’/W/e so miss the Dialectics which Marx did not need and which he refused us,’ Althusser continued, ‘even though we know perfectly well that we have it, and where it is: in Marx’s theoretical works, in Capital, etc., yes, and of course this is the main thing, we can find it there, but not in a theoretical state!’”

“Even more problematic, Althusser amusingly proposed, Marx himself often failed to think like a Marxist.”

“After agreeing with Hegel that experience and consciousness are ‘a unity,’ Marx made his famous observation that he’d found Hegel standing on his head and righted him.”

“Hegel reasoned history moves because communities of people come up with new ideas which prompt them to alter their behavior: consciousness leads experience.”

“’He had the process upside down!,’ Marx exhorted. History moves because communities of people discover they must formulate, then act upon, new strategies in order to maintain their social existence: consciousness, including revolutionary consciousness, never leads, it follows. ‘The existence of revolutionary ideas in a particular period presupposes the existence of a revolutionary class!’

“Althusser described this particular argument as ambiguous’, saying: ‘A man on his head is the same man when he is finally walking on his feet, and a philosophy inverted in this way cannot be regarded as anything more than the philosophy reversed, except in theoretical metaphor.’”

“Recognizing that Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts do represent an inverted Hegelian dialectic, Althusser concluded: ‘That is why the rigor of this rigorous text is not Marxist;’ suggesting the inversion makes more than just a metaphorical difference after all.”

“Regarding the humanistic/anti-objectivist passages in Capital, Althusser said he was able to determine they ‘had no theoretical significance.’”

“As for Marx’s eloquent relativistic observations in his Theses on Feuerbach, Althusser affirmed: ‘One day we will have to show that these eleven deceptively transparent theses are really riddles.’”

“Althusser also took a swipe at two prominent European philosophers who were viewing Marx’s arguments through a relativistic prism writing:”

“”Theses like those defended by John Lewis and Jean-Paul Sartre prevent the development of existing scientific knowledge. These things are an obstacle to the development of knowledge. Instead of helping it to progress, they hold it back.  More precisely, they drag knowledge back to the state it was in before the scientific discoveries made by Marx and Lenin.  They take us back to a pre-scientific philosophy of history.’”

“Marxist scientists, Althusser counselled, must concentrate on identifying the objectively ‘essential’ and ‘inessential’ components of the historical process, then isolate the latter in order to understand the former more fully.”

“Since Marx had not provided adequate instructions for accomplishing this critical task, Althusser advised Marxists they would need to ‘listen to his silences’ in carrying out their investigations.”

“To sum: it’s objectively obvious that, with few exceptions, Marxist political leaders and political theorists East and West have ignored the very essence of Dr. Marx’s theory; that relativistic epistemological glue which holds all his axioms together.”

“Marx, they determined, did not describe the real historical process. “

“Now I’d like you to answer a simple question: If a self-styled meteorologist never got the weather right, or a chemist was never able to predict the results of his experiments, would you consider him ascientist’ nevertheless, his effortsscientific?’”

“If not, why, then, should anyone listen to Marx?”

“Dr. Marx made that most rudimentary of mistakes, the one we scientists continually warn against: He allowed his personal values to distort his reading of the world.”

“More than 160 years have passed since Herr Marx made his failed predictions. Unfortunately, idealists seem to be unruffled when the world doesn’t conform with their analyses, and Marx has said nothing this evening which suggests he’s having second thoughts.”

“He still proposes reality’s form is creative, that political theories become true insofar as they constitute the least painful and disruptive strategies for maintaining the social existence of the individuals and communities who call them that.”

“Since the U.S. war in Iraq is a primary subject of this debate, I’d like to direct your attention to the present objective situation respecting the war. Then, I’ll explain why it is that objective situation exists.”

“As you know, for the past several months the number of U.S. troops being killed in Iraq has been plummeting, prompting Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate for president of your country, to declare: ‘The war is being ‘won’!”’

“Polls show the majority of Americans agree with McCain’s blithe appraisal.  That is, they agree to talk of ‘winning,’ despite the empirical fact that Iraq’s infrastructure and economy have been destroyed, over a million Iraqis have been killed, 6 million have been severely wounded, and 4 million more have been driven from their homes.”

“Let me place these figures, and the references to victory,’ in a dispassionately objective context for you.”

“Imagine that a war occurred here in the United States in which Americans suffered a proportionate loss: The nation’s infrastructure—highways, hospitals power plants, bridges and waste disposal systems—would be destroyed; streams, lakes and rivers would be badly polluted; eleven million Americans would be dead, 66 million gravely injured.  In addition, 44 million Americans would have been driven from their homes, 22 million of them exiled from the country.”

“Now suppose the invaders were heard to speak of ‘winning.’”

“What would any objective observer conclude about the aggressors in particular, and, humanity in general?”

“I submit they would reach the conclusion stated in my Discourses on Levy.

“’ . . . all men are bad, and  they will use their malignity of mind every time they have the opportunity . . . the same desires and passions exist in all cities and people, and  always have existed.’”

“Is it not obvious to you no people has ever declared:”

“This is the maximum number of children our consciences will permit us to slaughter; this, the upper-most number of women and old people we would ever terrorize, maim or kill; this, the greatest number of innocent people’s homes we could justify destroying; this, the largest number of their hospitals we would bomb; this, the greatest number of their lakes, rivers and streams we would pollute.  Beyond these stated limits we will never go!”

“Is it not objectively apparent there are no limits?”

“During the last century: the Japanese celebrated the slaughter of more than a million Chinese; the Germans cheered butchering 4 to 6 million Jews, along with 5 million Poles and Romanians, and 20 million Soviets; Americans applauded the slaying of between 1 and 2 million Japanese, and, with Britain, they toasted the killing of more than 5 million Gerrmans; under Stalin, the Soviet majority approved murdering over 10 million of their own countrymen, and the Chinese did the same under Mao; during the administrations of presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, Americans tolerated, many of them praised, the massacre of 3 million Vietnamese, Laotians and other South East Asians.”

“Today, Americans, British, Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis and others are doing it all over again in the Middle East.”

“Open your eyes and confront the reality of our species!”

“We are evil by nature!”

“Moreover, thousands of years of human history objectively prove it’s as impossible to change our nature as to change the nature of a hippopotomus, a pine tree or a stone.”

“Stalinist Russia and Maoist China gave brutal demonstrations that movements which attempt to do it cause more suffering, not less.”

“Let me make myself clear!”

“I’m not suggesting leaders shouldn’t strive to be good, and to make their people good.”

“As I argued in The Prince, both with his people, and in his dealings with other nations, a leader ‘should if possible, be merciful, faithful, humane, upright and religious.’”

“’He should not diverge from the good if he can avoid doing so!’”

“But, it is critical for him to understand that in the endless struggle between good and evil, he will never confront a clear and unqualified choice between the two.”

“He will always be forced to choose between actions which are ‘better’ or ‘worse,’ ‘more or less evil’.”

“As I observed in my opening remarks, ‘sometimes nations must make war, and in war all people do things which are evil.’”

“When he is compelled to protect his state and his people by doing evil, it is therefore critical for a leader to ‘know how to go about it.’”

“’You must know there are two ways of contesting,’ I wrote in The Prince. ‘The one by the law, the other by force; the first method is proper to men, the second to beasts; but because the first is frequently not sufficient, it is necessary to have recourse to the second.  Therefore it is necessary for a leader to understand how to avail himself of the beast and the man.’”

“Defending his state, particularly during a time of war, makes it imperative that a leader keeps his people unified and supportive of his policies.”

“Whenever possible, he should do this by using ‘the method proper to men’: laws.”

“Unfortunately, as I noted in Discourses, while the laws required will be ‘very well understood by prudent men, they do not contain evident reasons capable of persuading others.’”

“‘Wise men who want to remove this difficulty therefore have recourse to God.’”

For a leader to secure his people’s obedience to the law through fear of him is difficult, and will not work for an extended period of time.  For that reason, it is vitally important that he keep them obedient through religion and a fear of God.”

“’As the observance of divine institutions is the cause of the greatness of Republics, so the contempt of it is the cause of their ruin, for where the fear of God is lacking it will happen that the kingdom will be ruined.’”

(Chancing to glance at Ann Coulter, I was startled to see her face had assumed the beatific expression of a Jehovah’s witness, a Scientologist, or a Moonie).

“’Princes of Republics, /leaders of nations/, ought, therefore, to maintain their Republics’ religions well and united.’”

“‘They ought in all things which arise to foster it, and even if they should judge them false, to favor and encourage it: and the more they understand natural things, so much more they ought to do this.  Because this practice has been observed by wise men, there has arisen the belief in miracles that are celebrated in Religion, however false; for the prudent leaders have increased their importance from whatever origin they may have derived, and their authority gives them credence with the people’.”

(Ann’s beatific expression just as suddenly changed to one of puzzlement when Machiavelli referred to a leader fostering religion and a belief in miracles ”even if he believes them to be false”).

“I’ve already explained why I believe it to be the path of ’least evil’ for the Cheney-Bush government to take firm control of the Middle East’s oil, and, what it must do to realize that objective.”

“Today, I propose Senator McCain is right.  The U.S. is winning.”

“As I argued was necessary for seizing control of Iraq’s oil, its economy has been destroyed; the Sunni elite and middle class have been killed or driven into exile;  and maleable, corruptible individuals have been permitted to assume power over religious and tribal communities whose members are sufficiently poor that their ways of life can be sustained with a minimal amount of oil money and a use of the velvet glove.”

“In my opening remarks I also explained that all people resist seeing themselves as evil, regardless of how deeply evil they become; that to avoid seeing themselves as evil they will avidly seek to be deceived; and, for this reason, particularly in a time of war, a leader must be adept at deception.”

“When it’s necessary to ‘avail himself of the beast,’ ‘he must know how to disguise this characteristic, how to be a great pretender and dissembler.’”

“By the end of this debate you will have formed an opinion about which of us, Dr. Marx or myself, most objectively describes the world.”

“To help you decide, I’m going to close this first rebuttal with a citation from an article by Paul Craig Roberts.”

“Once a conservative, Dr. Roberts is now a leading voice on the American Left.  You’ll recall that Marx quoted him in his opening statement.”

“My reason for citing Roberts is simple.  For 500 years I’ve had to tolerate being described as reactionary, rather than realistic, and quoting someone on the Right would do nothing to dispel that misconception.”

“Each of you will be able to judge for yourself how well my theory of politics accords with the events Dr. Roberts describes; events he disparages, but which I understand and respect.”

“Roberts’ begins by discussing Sami Al-Arian, a Palestinian professor of computer engineering at the University of South Florida, who the Department of Justice charged with ‘conspiracy to assist the cause of Islamic Jihad’.”

“I’ll let Dr. Roberts take it from here:

“’The charges against Al-Arian were rejected by a jury, but the Bush Regime could not accept the obvious defeat.  If Al-Arian was not a terrorist, then other of the Bush Regime’s fabricated cases might fall apart, too . . . . The Justice Department itself knows that it is persecuting a totally innocent person for reasons of a political agenda—the need to convince gullible Americans of an ongoing terrorist threat . . . . The Al-Arian case proves that terrorists are in short supply and that the Bush Regime has had to create them out of total innocents. The “war on terror” is a hoax used to justify war crimes and the overthrow of America’s civil liberties. . . . The anthrax scare is one more example of the Bush Regime’s use of disinformation to advance an undeclared political agenda. . . .The Bush Regime stands against the truth. . . . We now know for a fact that the “terrorist anthrax attack” had nothing whatsoever to do with Muslim terrorists. . . . Many Americans lack the mental and emotional strength to confront the facts.  The facts are too unsettling and many are relieved when the “mainstream media” spins the facts away.  Many Americans find it too appalling that any part of “their” government, even a rogue operation, could possibly have been involved in any way in the anthrax attacks. No evidence—not even full confessions—could convince them otherwise.  Many Americans have welcomed their brainwashing by the neoconservatives: Åmerica is pure; her shining virtue causes evil men to attack her; they hate us because we are good and they are evil.’”

“I contend Roberts is correct, albeit naive.  Through a selective use of duplicity and persecution the Cheney-Bush government is successfully molifying and unifying Americans behind its global strategy; a strategy I believe is at once both an imperative, and, the lesser evil.”

“With that, for the moment, I rest my case.”

(Having remained animated throughout this first rebuttal, Machiavelli looked visibly tired as he returned to his seat.)

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Machiavelli and Marx Debate – II


Chronicled by Theosophus

The same men who establish their social relations in conformity with their material productivity, produce also principles, ideas and categories, in conformity with their social relations.  Thus, these ideas, these categories, are as little eternal as the relations they express.  They are historical and transitory products.”

“Ideas can never lead beyond an old world order but only beyond the ideas of the old world order.  Ideas cannot carry out anything at all.  In order to carry out ideas men are needed who can exert practical force.”                    Karl Marx

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Judging by his facial expressions, Marx’s mood changed dramatically during Machiavelli’s opening argument: from bemused, to bewildered, to irritated, to angry, and finally, to fierce determination.  Watching him, I recalled the remark of a Communist League friend who knew him well.  “In everyday conversation,” the friend observed, “Marx often rambles.  But whenever the smallest part of his theory is questioned, his mind immediately acquires the clarity of a dagger.”

Walking purposefully to the lectern, Marx took rumpled sheets of paper from the right pocket of his jacket.   Smoothing them out, he placed them, along with dog-eared copies of Grundrisse, The German Ideology, The Holy Family and The Poverty of Philosophy, next to a lined pad on which he had been scribbling notes.  Throughout his presentation Marx referenced the notes and books with the seeming ease of a Horowitz using the keys of a piano.

Clearing his throat, he began speaking.

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Marx: “Good evening.  Like my opponent, I want to thank everyone involved in bringing this debate about, as well as all of you in the audience, for your open-minded interest and civility.”

“I also want to thank my adversary.”

“Mr. Machiavelli presented a truncated materialist logic, one diluted with non-material assumptions and assertions.  But, given the plethora of idealist theories which describe human history as a product of ‘lofty aspirations,’ ‘intelligent choices,’ ‘errors’ and ‘misunderstandings, rather than people acting upon their hard-and-fast socio-economic interests, I found it refreshing.”

“Machiavelli called himself a scientist. So, I’ll start by reminding him what science has established concerning our species’ history.”

“We homo sapiens have been around between 200,000-250,000 years, and for all but the last 10,000 we lived in hunting and gathering tribes with 20 to 100 members, depending upon the available food.”

“It was only a short 10 millenia ago that we finally began to progress: from hunting and gathering to horticulture—planting various crops together; then, to agriculture–sowing and harvesting larger tracts of specific grains.”

“Over the course of that critical 10,000 years the populations of our communities grew continually larger.  Hunting and gathering tribes had 20-100 members.  Their semi-nomadic horticultural/agricultural replacements had hundreds; and the latter, in turn, were succeeded by stationary feudal societies whose populations sometimes numbered in the millions.  Today’s capitalist communities are bigger still, the U.S. presently having three hundred million people.”

“For what portion of humanity’s 200,000 year historical journey does Mr. Machiavelli offer a materialist explanation? Approximately 0.3 percent: the last few hundred years, characterized by the existence of principalities and nation-states.”

“It would be hard to formulate a theory of our species’ social, economic and political evolution more truncated than that.”

“Mr. Machiavelli’s materialist logic is also badly diluted with idealist propositions.”

“Describing himself as an ’objective scientist,’ he declared: ‘I limit my analyses to explaining what’s happening and the material reasons why.’”

“However, immediately thereafter he informed us he would have supported the United States during World War II, saying the U.S. was ‘more democratic than Germany or Japan.’”

“Is this, one wonders, what Mr. Machiavelli means by scientific observation?”

“If you’ve read The Prince and the Discourses, you’re aware he depicts leaders as ‘democratic’ insofar as they enjoy the backing of their people.  That definition, to his misfortune, objectively renders his conclusion about Hitler’s Germany and Hirohito’s Japan pure nonsense.”

“Anyone who’s studied World War II knows that until 1943 Hitler was more wildly popular with Germans than either Roosevelt or Churchill was with their respective populations.  That is, Germany was objectively more, not less, democratic.”

“As for Japan, historians have also documented its peoples’ enthusiasm–from a western perspective, a manic enthusiasm–for Prime Minister Tojo and Emperor Hirohito.”

“When confronted with these material realities, American sociologists often conclude the Germans and Japanese were duped’ ordeluded’ into giving their leaders such unquestioning support.  But those are idealist, not materialist propositions.”

“A genuinely scientific Machiavelli would have limited his inquiry to disclosing the Natural Necessity of WWII and the Natural Necessity of the roles played by each of the combatant nations, refusing to take sides in a conflict that entailed the slaughter of over 70 million people.”

“Abandoning materialist inquiry altogether, Machiavelli then went on to defend the United States’ destruction of Iraq’s infrastructure and its grotesque killing of countless thousands of Iraqis as ‘necessary for the preservation of Western Culture.’”

“Now, to anyone who’s the least bit objective, it’s obvious that the positive and negative cultural contributions of our species have never been preponderantly Eastern or Western, or the exclusive offerings of particular states.”

“The German culture which graced the world with Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, the Aachen Cathedral and the Altes Museum, is the same German culture that cursed it with Adolph Hitler and Hermann Goering, the Holocaust, the extermination of homosexuals and gypsies, and the slave labor of millions of East Europeans in National Socialist factories.”

“The French culture that contributed Descarte, Voltaire, Renoir, Jean Jacques Rousseau, the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Couer and Notre Dame, is the same French culture which in 1572 massacred 50,000 Huguenots in a six-weeks orgy of blood.  It’s the French culture that killed Arabs indiscriminately during Algeria’s 8-year battle for independence, torturing children in front of parents and parents in front of their children.”

“The Italian culture of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, is the Italian culture which produced Pope Gregory XIII, who congratulated Catherine de Medici for exterminating the 50,000 Calvinist Huguenots, ordered celebratory bonfires lighted and a gold medalion minted with the inscription: ‘Slaughter of the Huguenots.’ It’s the Italian culture that gave us both the brilliant Galileo and the Inquisition authorities who forced him to recant his heliocentric vision, then put him under house arrest for the remainder of his life.”

“Spain’s cultural offerings include Goya, Velasquez, Dali, Picasso, Miguel de Cervantes, the Iglesia de Montserrat and Botanical Gardens, along with the Inquisition’s torture racks and the cruelly oppressive 40-year regime of General Francisco Franco.”

“Russian culture donated Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Dostoyevsky, Anton Chekov, St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel.  It also furnished Ivan the Terrible; and Joseph Stalin, who rationalized and directed the killing of millions.”

“In addition to Confucius, Lao Tsu, the compass, paper, printing, gun powder, the Potala Palace, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, China’s cultural contributions to humanity include General Chiang Kai-shek who, in Summing Up at Seventy,’ observed that while reconquering the mainland would mean death for many millions, it would be well worth the effort. Today, Chinese culture includes the use of brute force to suppress the rights of Tibetans as well as millions of its own people.”

“Then there was Ancient Greece.  Called ‘The Fountainhead of Western Culture’ because it emphasized the use of reason and introduced our species to democracy, Ancient Greece also waged centuries of bloody war over the control of land; and its democracy, which lived less than a hundred years, was never available to women or slaves (and almost every free family had slaves) or even to freedmen.”

“As for hapless Iraq, in addition to Saddam and Chemical Ali, its cultural offerings go all the way back that momentous 10,000 years, to the dawn of modern civilization. ‘The first cities, the first written language, and the first legal system all began there.’”

“Let’s have the courage to be honest!”

”The United States wanted Iraq’s oil!  But it was destroying, not preserving our species’ cultural heritage when it brought about the burning of Baghdad’s National Library and National Archives; the sacking of its museum; the destruction of Mosul’s rare book and manuscript collection, and Basra University’s museum.  And the U.S. carried out this wrack-and-ruin with remarkable indifference.  Asked how he felt about the devastation, former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, a leading neocon custodian-of-anti-culture, blithely responded: ‘You can’t make an omlet without breaking eggs.’”

“On this occasion, Rumsfeld was at least being sincere.  As Mr. Machiavelli documented, making an omlet of Iraq was what the U.S. was about.”

“Where determining the role the neocons and the U.S. are playing in the Mid East is concerned, Machiavelli did start with a materialist observation.  ‘Only by joining in national communities which they give allegiance and fight to protect,’ he argued, ‘are people able to acquire physical, emotional and psychological security, find employment, build homes, feed and clothe their children, and raise them to share the values they hold dear.’”

“But a scientific-materialist observer would not have been so provincial.”

“Common sense, as well as all the available evidence, indicates our ancestors also paid fealty and fought to defend their various pre-national communities.

Besides being equally objective, the much simpler proposition that: The easiest way for people to reproduce their social existences is to join in communities which they give allegiance and fight to protect’, has a universal reference.”

“It accurately describes the practices of ancestral tribes and other pre-national communities, as well as those of the feudal and capitalist states with which my opponent seems so exclusively concerned.”

“Constructing a materialist theory of humanity’s social practice requires that we give the same species-applicable rephrasing to Machiavelli’s deduction about leaders.”

‘It follows, he reasoned,that the foremost objective of a nation’s leader, whether president, prime minister or prince, must be the preservation of the state upon which the lives and the well-being of his people depend.’”

“If we make the rational, and, again, the materially obvious, assumption leaders are as interested in perpetuating their hegemonic social existences as followers are in protecting less enviable conditions, we can rephrase Machiavelli’s conclusion to state:”

“The foremost objective of a leader who wishes to maintain his favored status must be the preservation of the community upon which a reproduction of his people’s social existences depends.”

“Common sense, and the historical record, make it clear any leader who fails to accomplish that feat will be in serious trouble.”

“Having reworded Mr. Machiavelli’s central axioms to make them representative of human behavior, not just the behavior of people joined in national communities, I’ll   give you a scientific-materialist explanation of our species’ socio-economic-political evolution: where we’re at, how we got here, and, by logical implication, where we are going.”

(Pausing to retrieve additional sheets of wrinkled paper, this time from his jacket’s left pocket, Marx examined them briefly, then continued:)

“Those of you unfamiliar with my theory may be surprised to hear I begin by agreeing with my conservative predecessor Adam Smith that we humans are driven by self-interest.”

“It is natural necessity and interest that hold the members of civil society together,’ Engels and I emphasized in The Holy Family.”

“We repeated this keystone tenet in The German Ideology, saying: ‘Individuals seek only their particular interest.’”

“What is this ‘self-interest’ which unifies communities of people around the employment of particular methods of production and distribution?”

“It’s here that Adam Smith’s thinking and my own diverge sharply.”

“Smith described the populations of capitalist communities as engaged in trying to better their socio-economic conditions/enhance their material situations, while an Unseen Hand’ binds them together.”

“For me, however, the preservation of their ‘social existences;’ by which I mean a reproduction of the socio-economic conditions they already enjoy, is far more important than improving it for the members of every community.”

“And it is the things which people cooperatively do to achieve that paramount objective, not some mythical ‘Unseen Hand,’ which unifies them around any given system of production.”

”’Production,’ as I stated in Grundrisse: ‘aims at the reproduction of the producer and his objective conditions of existence.’”

”Don’t misunderstand me. I am not denying given members of a community will strive to improve their socio-economic situations.  My point is more fundamental.”

“In the immediate present, that is, in-the-here-and-now, every community’s production of goods and services has a fixed dimension; which is what enables economists to assign the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of nations a specific monetary figure.”

“It therefore follows that insofar as some individuals acquire more of the productive pie in-the-here-and-now, other members of the community must receive less; and that will be creative of tension/conflict/enmity, rather than amity, between them.”

“Which is why politicians always attempt to make pies bigger, rather than give more to one social segment by taking from another.  It’s also why conservative legislators (correctly) accuse liberal colleagues who dare to suggest policies expropriative of the wealthy of engaging in class warfare.’”

“In other words, in-the-here-and-now, the acquisitive efforts of particular individuals will be destructive, not creative, of community. Since to speak of a community’s existence presupposes its members are somehow bound together in-the-here-and-now, it’s obvious they are not being bound by the attempts of some to gain.”

“Smith theorized they’re held together by an ‘Unseen Hand.’ I contend that for a materialist the nature of the hand is clear. It is nothing other than the shared desire of every community member to reproduce his/her social existence; i.e, to keep what they already possess.  And, as I will demonstrate, it is the members of a community acting upon this shared material objective, an objective assumed and unspoken, which has driven our species forth.”

“When hunting and gathering tribes became too large to obtain adequate food in a given territory they initially did what bees and ants do.  Intent on reproducing their primitive social existence, some members of the tribe simply swarmed to a new location.“

“Population growth and the desire to maintain social existence gradually led our earliest ancestors to inhabit remote regions of the earth, adapting to different climates and different food sources as they moved.”

“Eventually, however, with tribal populations continuing to increase and the amount of new habitable territory declining, fighting began over the control of specific lands.  Judging from the practices of tribes who presently inhabit tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, our warring tribal ancestors used a variety of symbols–tattoos, feathers, paints and animistic deities—to identify themselves and their causes and to strengthen their resolve.”

“At various times, in various locations, reproducing social existence required tribes to turn their enemies into a source of protein.  Their cannibalism was similarly justified/made rational with elaborate beliefs, ceremonies and incantations.”

“After hunting and gathering for 190,000-plus years our ancestors approached a critical juncture: There were too many people for the earth to feed, house and clothe if they continued using that order of production and distribution.”

“As I remarked in Grundrisse:

“‘The overpopulation among hunting peoples, which shows itself in the warfare between the tribes, proves not that the earth could not support their small numbers, but rather, that the condition of their reproduction required a great amount of territory for few people.’”

“To succinctly describe the oxymoronic situation our hunting and gathering predecessors now faced: their quest for a constancy of social existence would force them to radically change.”

“As war ceased to be the easiest way for hunters and gatherers to reproduce their social existence, they began making slaves of enemies rather than killing them, establishing nomadic-slave communities, domesticating animals, and practicing rudimentary agriculture.”

“Whereupon, a territory which had provided for 20-100 hunters and gatherers could now  sustain several times that number; and, do it at a significantly higher socio-economic level, providing better food, clothing and shelter.  The problem of overpopulation and consequent violent struggle was momentarily relieved, and, our species social evolution  at long last began.”

“Und dort haben Sie es!  The Dialectical Materialist nature of humanity’s historical progress! Fundamental socio-economic-political changes have been the result of an assumed desire for no change, under material circumstances which were themselves undergoing transformation; principally, though not exclusively, because of an increase in population.”

“From hunting and gathering, to nomadic slave, to feudal, and, I believe, to capitalist, each succeeding order of production and distribution has been able to sustain a given number of people at a given socio-economic level.”

“Each has ‘sowed the seeds of its own destruction’ by creating problems it could not solve, including the formation of a growing sub-community whose members social existences it lacked the capacity to sustain.”

“Fortunately, at the same time each has spawned, then nurtured into adolesence, a more cornucopian and flexible system which was able to socio-economically maintain the community, and, to heal the wounds its parent order had inflicted.”

“In Grundrisse, I recounted the Dialectical Materialist development of colonialist and slave-holding practices in ancient Rome, explaining:”

“’After the City of Rome had been built and the surrounding countryside cultivated by its citizens, the conditions of the community were different from what they had been before.  The aim of all these communities is survival; i.e., reproduction of the individuals who compose it as proprietors, i.e. in the same objective mode of existence as forms the relation among the members and at the same time therefore the commune itself.  This reproduction, however, is at the same time necessarily new production and destruction of the old form.  For example, where each of the individuals is supposed to possess a given number of acres of land, the advance of population is already underway.  If this is to be corrected, then colonization, and that in turn requires wars of conquest. With that, slaves, etc.  Also, e.g., enlargement of the ager publicus, and therewith the patricians who represent the community etc. Thus the preservation of the old community includes the destruction of the conditions on which it rests, turns into its opposite.’”

“Throughout much of temperate Western Europe our ancestors’ defensive formation of feudal productive orders was brought about by the equally defensive predations of Scandinavian Vikings in the 8th century.”

“Natives of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, the Vikings were farmers with large families who could no longer feed, house and clothe their increasing numbers in their climatically less hospitable homelands.”

“They initially raided Europe’s coastal regions in search of silver, gold and slaves.  But Central Europe’s fertile land and warmer weather soon led them to establish villages and settle down, further destabilizing the lives of those whose territories they invaded.”

“British historian William Stubbs noted that for indigenous Central Europeans the: ‘chronic absense of any effective central government and the threat of war and famine contributed to the general awareness of the need for security and protection.  It was in this atmosphere of collapsing central authority, civil war, invasion and overall economic stagnation that the institution known as feudalism appeared.’”

“Within Europe’s nascent feudal communities everyone’s life practices became rigidly, but protectively, defined.  Control of the land was of prime importance. Serfs worked it. With the king’s sanction, lords owned it, but were above doing any physical work.  The lords were warriors, whose principal function was to defend everyone, including the monarch and the serfs, against invasion.”

“In addition, the lords were sworn to furnish adequate land, firewood and housing materials for their serfs.  On their parts, the serfs’ tasks included animal husbandry, crop raising, building and maintaining the monarch’s and lords’ dwellings, carrying their water, making their clothing, currying their horses; and, as the feudal productive order matured, following the lords into battle.”

“All relationships between lords, peasants, religious authorities and kings were justified and sustained not by monetary exchanges or legal agreements, but by ‘personal loyalty and service’ enforced by each individual’s sense of obligation.  Barter (this-for-that trade), rather than currency, controlled nearly every other movement of goods.”

“Money-lending for interest was considered usury and sinful on the part of borrowers as well as lenders.  Behind it all stood the Roman Catholic Church, unified with the State, formulating and propagating the appropriate philosophical rationales (feudalism’s manifestation in ideas), and pressuring recalcitrants to abide by their obligations lest they suffer punishment at the hand of God.”

“Europe’s progressive feudal communities then grew and prospered.”

“But, like hunting and gathering and nomadic slave communities before them, in time they started having difficulty maintaining the social existence of their increasing populations.  For a few hundred years, again, like their predecessors, feudal principalities/states eased that problem by warring with one another.”

“Gradually, however, taking another progressive step and establishing the more cornucopian capitalist order of production became a Natural Necessity.”

“While it’s possible that by reducing Western Europe’s population by one-quarter to one-half the bubonic plague (‘Black Death’) of 1347-50 may have delayed exhaustion of the feudal productive system, in some ways it appears to have accelerated the process.”

“Historian Fernand Braudel argues the plague aggravated an economic recession which had started 50 years before.  With hundreds of small villages depopulated, surviving peasants were driven into cities to endure.  In turn, the growth of cities made it increasingly difficult for landholders to simply barter agricultural products for things they needed.  Money began to be an imperative.”

“Recession was also making Europe’s battles, hence its armies, grandscale.  That entailed using hired soldiers, cast-iron cannon, and swords in ever-larger quantities, all of which likewise had to be paid for with money.  Finally, the recession prompted many lords to expand their landholdings in an effort to hang on.  That, too, required the use of legal tender.”

“In order to obtain the necessary funds, lords had no alternative to borrowing from the inchoate financiers located in cities, which meant usury would have to begin losing its feudal, church-dictated, stigma.  Land-holding nobles further undermined their feudal productive orders by sending sons who were unable to acquire personal estates to the rapidly growing cities where they became financiers and merchants, as well as engaging in handicraft and rudimentary industrial production: makers and sellers of the swords, cannon and uniforms the feudal elites so desperately needed.”

“Confronting Europeans with the material reality that religious devotion could no longer offer them protection, economic recession and plague had also begun eroding the Catholic Church’s unquestioned authority. ‘The Black Death led to cynicism toward religious officials who could not keep their frequent promises of curing plague victims and banishing the disease.’”

“Purporting to be Jesus’ earthly intermediary, the feudal Church had traditionally absolved individuals of their sins for confession, and/or good deeds, such as aiding the poor.”

“But by the late 13th century, feudalism’s growing inability to sustain Europe’s population was squeezing the clergy, whose numbers were also increasing, prompting the Church to begin selling forgiveness in the form of ‘indulgences.’”

“Theologian Richard Hooker related the indulgences: ‘subsituted good works of the Catholic clergy for the good works required of the individual believer.  Proof of this substitution was in the indulgence itself, which was a piece of paper . . . that certified good works of the clergy had paid off “the good works debt” of the individual believer.  Inspired by the need to raise money, Hooker argued, ‘indulgences reproduced the very logic of money.’”

“Like the nobility, the clergy were actively engaged in ‘sowing the seeds’ of their feudal productive order’s destruction.”

“The first perceptible signs of capitalism’s fetal development within the feudal  structure appeared in Spain.”

“Machiavelli described how a lack of rain and fertile land led the Spanish to conquer New World territories in order to ‘defend their state.’ I’d like you to read his  defend their state’ as ‘maintain their people’s social existences.’”

“But there was another, equally important, material process at work in Spain.  Financiers, workshop manufacturers and merchants, with Jews in the forefront, were effecting changes which threatened the country’s feudal structure.”

“With rare exception, Jews had not been allowed to become members of Europe’s land-owning elite.  As a consequence, they maintained social existence by adopting the indicated industrial-world occupations, making them urban-dwelling leaders of the revolutionary capitalist transformation.”

“By the mid-15th century the anti-feudal roles which socio-economic survival was requiring Jews to play began bringing them into open conflict with Spain’s landed nobility as the country’s feudal system became daily more inadequate.”

“Conservatively, predictably, the landholding elite initially responded to the mounting threat with a cautious antisemitism, demanding Jews either leave the country or convert to the elite’s feudal understanding of Christianity.”

“While hundreds-of-thousands of Jews took the second course, of necessity, their every-day practices continued to have the same capitalist-order impact as before.”

“In 1478, acquiescing to pressure being exerted by the landed nobility through King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Pope Sixtus IV authored the brutal Spanish Inquisition.  The principal targets of the Inquisition would be the Jewish converts, who, it was argued, correctly in most cases, were not sincere about their conversion.  According to the King’s decree, ’Ecclesiastical Tribunals’ were formally established and instructed: ‘to judge heretical depravity, to search out and punish converts from Judiasm who have transgressed against Christianity by secretly adhering to Jewish beliefs and performing Jewish rites.’”

“Fourteen years later the King and Queen ordered that Jews be expelled from the country.”

“But, though the feudal-elite could not foresee it, Spain would soon relieve its developing productive order crisis by exporting excess population to, while acquiring huge quantities of gold, silver and other mineral riches from, the New World.”

“Christopher Columbus wrote in his diary: ‘In the same month in which Their Majesties issued the edict that all Jews should be driven out of the kingdom and its territories, in the same month they gave me the order to undertake with sufficient men my expedition of discovery to the Indies.’”

“Portugal’s situation was similar to that of Spain: insufficient arable land, infertile soil and inadequate rainfall; and, like Spain, it relieved its feudal-order crisis by exporting people and importing New World pelf.”

“Spain and Portugal’s New World successes were rapid, ruthless, and astoundingly profitable. During one period of only a few weeks Columbus: ‘shipped to Spain nearly two tons of gold.’”

“Francisco Pizzaro had a similar experience when he entered Peru.  After slaughtering 7,000 of Atahuallpa’s warriors in a single night, Pizzaro agreed to give the Inca king freedom in exchange for silver and gold.  Atahuallpa provided him with two and a half tons of gold and five tons of silver as his part of the bargain.  Pizzaro then had him strangled to better secure control of the country.”

“Portugal, too, reaped and raped remarkable profit during this period.”

“Neither the resistance of native populations, nor their disappearance through European diseases to which they had no natural defense, proved to be obstacles of great significance.  Flagrant brutality and extermination solved the first, the importation of millions of African slaves the second.”

“By the latter part of the 16th century, comfortably ensconced in the New World, Spain had founded universities in two of its conquered territories: the University of Mexico in 1553, and the University of San Marcos at Lima, Peru in 1572.”

“With large numbers of their people moving to the New World and establishing the grand fiefdoms no longer available at home, their economies infused by stolen New World treasure, for the next three hundred years Spain and Portugal’s feudal systems again became secure.”

“But where colonialism and the theft of Latin American wealth–also African wealth in Portugal’s case–would enable the Spanish and Portuguese land-holding elites to preserve their pre-capitalist orders, such efforts did not work nearly so well for France and England.”

“Because their feudal systems of production began experiencing structural crisis a little later than those of Spain and Portugal, England and France trailed those two countries where attempting to vent excess population in the New World and seize its riches were concerned.”

“Not that the late comers failed to try.  Without exception, all of England and France’s New World incursions during the 17th century were expressly aimed at acquiring wealth in the form of  gold, silver and precious stones.”

“Yet, however much they prayed, God seemed unsympathetic.  There were no vast stores of mineral wealth waiting to be seized in the unconquered regions of North America.  In addition, the northern territories had a far less hospitable climate, and were inhabited by Indians who, not living in large, easily destroyed cities, were able to fight back when their own social existences were threatened.”

“The first shipload of England’s Jamestown settlers arrived in May 1607.  Eight months later, weakened from hunger and infected by disease, ‘only 38 of the 104 colonists were still alive—barely.’ George Percy, Jamestown’s president, recorded that by 1610 they were reduced to eating ‘dogs, cats, rats, and mice.’”

“Additional hundreds of colonists reached Jamestown over the next couple decades.  Yet, where energizing England’s feudal economy was concerned, the Jamestown settlement continued to have little value, and the colonists were soon at war with natives.”

“In 1622, 347 of what were by then approximately 1,400 settlers were murdered by Algonquians enraged at being driven from traditional lands by the colonizers’ tobacco farming.  Writer Karen Lange notes that ‘three out of four who came to Jamestown between 1607 and 1624 died from disease, hunger and conflict with the Indians.’ In 1644, a second attack by the Algonquians, whose own population was now in radical decline, killed another 400 colonists.”

“Under the circumstances, very few English were interested in moving to the New World, and France’s New World ventures proved even less rewarding.”

“Both countries then tried to ease their feudal order crises with piracy.  If they could not compete with Spain and Portugal in stealing New World wealth, they could at least profit by robbing the robbers.”

“But, though highly remunerative, and ample justification for getting Francis Drake knighted, the piracy would not solve their problem of having inadequate productive systems either; which, in England’s case, was already changing from chronic to acute.”

“The number of French and English who were finding it necessary to take up capitalist-world occupations to survive had long been growing.  The construction of ships needed to export colonists and raid Spanish and Portuguese vessels, the manufacturing of axes, plows, hammers, nails, guns, clothing, etc., for provisioning their own, as well as, ironically, Spanish and Portuguese settlers, only accelerated that transformation.”

“Having no less painful and disruptive alternative left for maintaining the majority of its people’s social existence, in the mid-17th century England underwent the capitalist revolution, followed by France a hundred years later.”

“With their capitalist revolutions, political power was wrenched from the increasingly decrepit hands of landowners and given to the financiers, merchants and industrialists whose hour of authority had arrived.”

“In a letter to P.V. Annenkov I described the Dialectical Materialist overthrow of  England’s feudal order of production, writing:”

“’The privileges, the institutions of guilds and corporations, the regulatory regime of the Middle Ages, were social relations that alone corresponded to the acquired productive forces and to the social condition which had previously existed and from which these institutions had arisen.  Under the protection of the regime of corporations and regulations, capital was accumulated, overseas trade was developed, colonies were founded.  But the fruits of this men would have forfeited if they had tried to retain the forms under whose shelter these fruits had ripened.  Hence burst two thunderclaps—the Revolutions of 1640 and 1688.  All the old economic forms, the social relations corresponding to them, the political conditions which were the official expression of the old civil society, were destroyed in England.’”

“I reiterated my central thesis in the Annenkov letter, observing:

“‘Men never relinquish what they have won, but this does not mean that they never relinquish the social form in which they have acquired certain productive forces.  On the contrary, in order that they may not be deprived of the result attained, and forfeit the fruits of civilization, they are obliged, from the moment when the form of their commerce no longer corresponds to the productive forces acquired, to change all their traditional social forms.’”

“The Natural Necessity of each successive order of production and distribution, and the material reason it had a much shorter life-span than its predecessor, should be evident.”

“By producing a drastic improvement in people’s security, clothing, housing, food quality, and, therefore, their health and longevity, each generated a more explosive increase in population than its forerunner, leading, in turn, to its own more rapid exhaustion and demise.”

“Hunters and gatherers lived about 17 years, rarely more than 20.  The average life span of many capitalist country populations is over 75.”

“Demographers estimate that when Columbus set sail the total world population was about 400 million. At present, only a few hundred years after capitalist systems of production began to be erected, it’s over 6.6 billion and rapidly growing.”

“It’s also obvious why the changes in productive-distributive orders have all been unidirectional.”

“If the United States decided to return to a feudal existence, at least 60 perecent of Americans would either have to be exiled or killed.  An estimated 2 percent of the population currently produces over 90 percent of the country’s foodstuffs, using sophisticated irrigation systems, tractors, plows and combines that only a highly advanced industrial economy can provide.  The foodstuffs are then distributed via trains, planes and semis, which likewise require a complex industrial order for their manufacture.   So, too, with everything else Americans enjoy, including housing, clothing, medical care, entertainment and travel.”

“Similarly, maintaining the social existences of the French or English during the 16th century would have been impossible if they had decided to raze their feudal productive orders and revert to using nomadic-slave or hunting and gathering systems of production.”

“A materialist explanation for the origin of social classes, politics and ideology is also inherent in what I‘ve said about our species’ social evolution.”

“The transition from hunting and gathering to the nomadic-slave mode of production introduced an important new ingredient: a division of labor. Specific tasks began to be performed by specific individuals.  As the slave order achieved viability, it started turning out goods and services in excess of the amount required to reproduce everyone’s social existence.”

“Due to the division of labor, some individuals—the slave masters—found themselves in control of that excess.  So long as the slaves’ social existence was being maintained, they would exert little or no pressure for a share of the surplus, making the formation of an elite social class a Natural and Necessary result.”

“Having a hegemonic status to be preserved, the elites then needed special protective devices. Politics and the political state were the practical weapons reflexively born of that need.  In the same way, and for the same reason, abstract philosophies and religions were spontaneously created to provide the requisite blueprints and justifications.”

“Individuals calling themselves ‘Marxists’ sometimes portray elites as duplicitous where the creation and employment of philosophy/religion and political institutions are concerned.”

“Their idealist reasoning has nothing whatsoever to do with my own materialist logic.”

“To the contrary, I’ve argued elites instinctively and sincerely formulate those religio-philosophical ideas, create those political institutions, engage in those practices which most effectively/least disruptively enable them to secure their favored social existences.”

“For the same reason, middle classes and the poor just as spontaneously adopt the elites’ philosophical-religious ideas, embrace their political institutions, and adhere to the associated political practice.”

“If non-elite members of a community were to reject the elite’s philosophical vision, refuse to act upon it, they would have to confront the elite physically, and neither of them would be socio-economically sustained.”

“Therefore, as long as productive orders have been able to perpetuate (reproduce) their social existences, non-elites have reflexively internalized and acted upon the elites’ perspectives, some times enthusiastically, sometimes with reluctance, sometimes under dramatic protest, depending upon how well they were being sustained.”

“Engels and I emphasized this point in The German Ideology, writing:”

“‘The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas: i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. . . . The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.’”

“Mr. Machiavelli described the fundamental logics leaders promote as ’lies told  to preserve their states.’”

“On this matter, our disagreement could not be more complete.”

“The American elites who defended their favored interests with the argument that settlers of Western territories were fighting ‘bloodthirsty indian savages’ believed it to be true.  So did the settlers.  Respecting that issue, no deception whatsoever was involved.”

“Stalin and the Soviet bureaucrats who protected their more prosperous social existences and that of the country’s state-capitalist elite with the claim they were imprisoning or killing tens-of-millions of pro-capitalist traitors during the Great Depression were thoroughly convinced that was what they were doing.”

“So, too, with the Nazis’ proposition Germany was involved in a fateful struggle against a Jewish-Communist conspiracy to dominate the world.  Hitler, Goering, Himmler, Speer and other National Socialist leaders were more than willing to lie in the service of what they considered true.  But, the idea of a Jewish-Communist conspiracy was, for them, among the most essential of realities.”

“Finally, American leaders were not lying when they described a ‘communist’ threat to  U.S. investments in Latin America, Asia and Africa from the 1960s to the late 80s.  The utilitarian meaning of ‘communist/communism’ which those with menaced investments employed was: ‘anyone or anything which threatens our interests.’ Hence, for them, raping, torturing and killing–into submission or out of existence—individuals who posed the threats, was seen as a painful but imperative endeavor; a ‘removal of cancer in order to save the patient,’ they often intoned.”

(With a wry smile, Marx then added:)

“If any of you still believe this country’s leaders were insincere about their anti-communist crusade I suggest  you discuss it with Ann Coulter.”

(Staring intently, first at Coulter, who had visibly paled and was squeezing the arms of her chair as though trying to break them, then at Bill O’Reilly, whose red face and bulging eyes threatened an explosion, Marx finished making his point.)

“During the same period, the Soviet Union’s elite employed their own unique interest-protective definitions.  Threats to their favored socio-economic status which came from the right were repressed as ‘capitalist.’ Threats from the left were labelled ‘leftist adventurism’ and crushed with equal vigor.”

“In each of these cases, elites and their political representatives spontaneously defined the world in defense of hegemonic social realities.  In each case, the non-elites whose social existences were being sustained reflexively followed.”

“’Are we homo sapiens really so conservative?,’ I can hear some of you asking.”

“Have you ever noticed that no one, whether politically Left, Right or Liberal, knowingly calls ‘true’ ideas which, when they act upon them as valid, result in their own socio-economic expropriation?”

“Now, we must either regard this as a miracle of walking-on-water and raising the dead proportions, or, consider it irrefutable empirical evidence that, before anything else, people’s political truths are blueprints and justifications for defending their personal social existences.”

“’But,’ you may protest, ‘there are individual exceptions to the above rule; Christ, for example, and Che Guevara.’”

“Granted.  However, history is made by people acting in community, and there are clearly no community exceptions.”

“Moreover, we know very well how people communally rationalize not following the individual egalitarian exceptions.  Proclaiming Christ ‘the Son of God,’ Christians excuse their own failure to share as the action of mere mortals; driving expensive cars to church, and drawing comfort from the biblical assurance Christ died to atone for their sins.”

“Similarly, the people of self-described socialist/communist nations have rationalized not imitating Che by calling him ‘the socialist man alive today;’ an elevated status they concede they have not yet personally attained.”

“In both instances the exceptions are idolized, and, as all of human history affirms, when people idolize they never emulate.”

“If tomorrow everyone began behaving as Christ prescribed, common sense argues it would mean the end of Christianity.  People might thereafter love Christ.  But is it rational to think they would continue worshipping someone no better than themselves?”

“The men who joined Che in the Bolivian mountains probably loved him.  But it’s illogical to suppose they idolized him for doing the same thing they were doing.”

“Do you still question our species inherent conservatism?”

“Then, let me give you another example.”

“It’s the reality of our universally shared experience that insofar as groups/communities of people have the same socio-economic existences to defend the question whether they should permit one another complete freedom of speech, press and assembly never arises.”

“Here in the United States, conservatives like William Bennett, Ramesh Ponnuru and Richard Mellon Scaife don’t debate granting each other such license.”

“Neither do their liberal counterparts. It would never occur to Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel and Harry Reid to argue the propriety of allowing one another unfettered rights to organize, publish and speak.”

“Nor, again, do individuals on the Left: Michael Parenti, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore  and Alex Cockburn for instance.”

“It’s the reality of our shared experience that insofar as communities of individuals do not have the same socio-economic existences to protect, but, for one to keep does not require that the others fail to do so, with a great show of magnanimity, they concede one another the indicated liberties.”

“However, it’s also the (less admirable) reality of our shared experience that whenever members of one community have found they could no longer preserve their socio-economic existences if those in another community were permitted to do so, they have readily taken each others’ lives; and, with a lot less hesitation, they’ve denied one another freedom of press, speech and assembly.”

“At such moments, stifling any democratic impulses they might have, people have begun to oppress, and to kill.”

“U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes defended the principle involved when he argued no one should be allowed to ‘yell fire in a crowded theater.’”

“The vital questions, of course, are ‘What constitutes a political yell of fire?’, and ‘When should the theater be said to be crowded?’”

“If you examine the Court’s application of the Holmes doctrine you will find that political ideas labelled ‘yells of fire’ were invariably ones which, if acted upon by the public to whom they were addressed, would have been expropriative of the socio-economic existences of the people who called them that.  And, the theater was said to be crowded insofar as it appeared likely the broader public might act.”

“I noted that while a community’s productive order remains viable, being conservative, non-elites act out support for the state and the elite’s vision.”

“Besides protecting the elite’s hegemonic interests, the state of a viable productive system serves everyone by defending from threats, both foreign and domestic, the order which enables a reproduction of their socio-economic conditions.”

“As Engels and I argued in The German Ideology, at such times ‘the State is the form in which the individuals of a ruling class assert their common interests, and in which the whole civil society of an epoch is epitomized.’”

“I said it again in Grundrisse: ‘Protection of acquisitions, etc.  When these trivialities are reduced to their real content, they tell more than their preachers know.  Namely, that every form of production creates its own legal relations, form of government, etc..’”

“As I noted in my letter to Annenkov: ‘assume particular stages of development in production, commerce and consumption and you will have a corresponding social constitution, a corresponding organization of the family, of orders or of classes, in a word, a corresponding civil society.’”

“For the same reason, when an exhausted order of production and distribution has been razed, as its successor begins to acquire viability its self-understanding, i.e., its philosophy, ‘becomes philosophy generally, in presence of the world.  It becomes the philosophy of the world of the present.’”

“’The formal features which attest a philosophy has achieved that importance, that it is the living soul of the culture, . . . were the same in all times,’ I observed in an article written for the Reinische Zeitung, calling the operative philosophy of a productive-distributive order its ‘Spiritual Quintessence.’”

“In other words, every community-self-consciousness (philosophy/religion) is the product of a desire on the part of the people who hold it to preserve their particular web of social existences, in their particular circumstances, at their particular time.”

“It follows that whether a community’s philosophy/religion is perpetuated, undergoes modification, or, is discarded entirely in favor of another, will be determined by the kind and degree of material change occurring in the situations of those who embrace it.”

“Engels and I spelled out the implicit Natural and Necessary conclusion in The German Ideology, proposing:”

“‘Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of  independence.  They have no history, no development, but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter along with this their real existence, their thinking and the products of their thinking.’

“Are we humans really so inherently conservative?”

“If we judge our species by what we do, and not by what we say, our answer to that rhetorical question must be YES!

“If you’ve followed my materialist logic, you’ll understand my dismissal of the idealistic reasoning of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and other contemporary Hegelians, who put ideas in the lead and blame the world’s suffering on religion.”

“Declaring the search for ‘scientific truth’ urgently important, these lightheaded philosophers give ’truth’ the same nonobjective and hyper-orthodox meaning as the Muslims, Jews, evangelical Christians and Pagans they so roundly condemn.”

“Remarkably, having asserted ‘We live in a world in which the obvious is overlooked as a matter of principle’, Sam Harris then shows us how it’s done.”

“If by ‘obvious’ he means ‘the logic of experience’ (that philosophical stance I call ‘materialism,’ and William James dubbed ‘radical empiricism’), Harris quite obviously confronts a dilemma:”

“Without exception, the members of feudal communities East and West are known to have believed God dictated how society should be organized, and, that God’s directives arrived on earth via the elites and the high religious authorities who shared their favored status and authored its ideological defense: the ’Divine Right of Kings’ in feudal Europe, the ‘Mandate of Heaven’ in feudal China and Japan.”

“Like me, most of you will undoubtledly agree with Harris that the feudalists were ‘wrong.’”

“However, we also know, because both common sense and our experience demand it, that if today the people of Japan, France, or any other industrial nation, decided to restore the feudal order they’d immediately find it necessary to adopt its system-sustaining web of beliefs.”

“For a week or two everyone might simply ‘play along,’ with those who elected to be peasants bowing to the dictates of priests and bishops, lords and ladies, kings and queens, just for the fun of it all.  But if the resurrected feudal system was going to have any permanence, it would be imperative that everyone internalize its logic, sincerely believing God had determined their respective stations, who they were, what they thought, and how they behaved toward one another.”

“In short, acknowledging the ‘materially obvious’ in this instance means recognizing that Religious Absolutism was the mental expression (representation in the form of ideas), of the feudal world; a metaphysics and epistemology which continues to exist in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other pre-industrial regions of Asia and the Middle East today.”

“Hence, to call it ‘wrong’ in the abstract is like labelling the blueprint for a building we don’t like to be ‘in error.’”

“If, when confronted with this predicament, Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens, et al. still insist on maintaining their idealist stance, it goes from being implausible to being absurd.”

“Since what these psuedo-scientists hold to be the ‘errors’ of hunters and gatherers, nomadic slave holders, feudalists, contemporary Muslims, Pagans, Evangelical Christians and Zionist Jews, have obviously had a far greater creative impact on history than the ideas they personally consider ‘truth,’ they must now explain why anyone should ever bother looking for the latter.”

“They have, in short, adopted the mind-boggling position that—scripted by understandings they consider “wrong”— all of human history has been “a mistake”. That’s hardly a conclusion one might characterize as “scientific”.”

“We materialists are criticized for referring to historical processes as ‘inevitable,’ ‘Natural Necessity,’ and ‘dialectic.’ Hopefully, you now understand what we mean by those terms.”

“We’re not suggesting the transition from hunting and gathering tribes, to nomadic-slave communities, to feudal and capitalist nations, was pre-determined by an inflexible universe or a manipulative god.”

What made the journey ‘inevitable’ was us: i.e., our ‘survival-of-the-fittest’ insistence on reproducing our personal social existences in the least painful and disruptive way possible, whatever the cost to others; and the ceaseless changes in community theory and  practice/knowing and doing which realizing that objective has entailed.”

“This always seemed so self-evident to me that in a letter to Ferdinand Lassalle I once (naively) enthused: ‘Darwin’s work is most important and suits my purpose in that it provides a basis in natural science for the historical class struggle. . . . teleology in natural science is not only dealt a mortal blow but its rational meaning is empirically explained.’”

“A ‘mortal blow to teleology’ indeed!”

“While our species has reaped ever-more-wondrous benefits from the last ten millenia of its 200,000 year trip, for equally clear material reasons, hundreds-of-millions of us have also suffered terrible pain.“

“Whenever the assumed truths of an exhausted productive-distributive order have become injurious errors for members of a progressive sub-community, and the latter have started formulating and acting upon a system-transforming logic, the elites whose interests were threatened have declared the established order and its justifying philosophy (its deities, rituals and shrines, its icons and incantations) sacrosanct and gone on the attack. Predictably, they’ve been assisted in that effort by the members of other classes whose social existences were still being maintained.”

“At the apex of such tragic moments, describing challenges to their interests as a conflict between good and evil, elites have decided individuals who rejected the established order and its rationales would have to be silenced; if necessary, they would have to be killed; thereby causing transitions from one productive-distributive system to another to be experienced as dialectic.”

(Marx’s expression suddenly softened as he added:)

“Being an inveterate optimist, I’ll remind you that while frenzied assaults by defenders of expended orders have proven fatal for countless representatives of nascent systems, they have also affirmed every new system’s propriety.”

“As I observed in a Koinische Zeitung article, the self-consciousness/philosophy of every new order of production and distribution: ‘is introduced into the world by the clamour of its enemies who betray their internal infection by their desperate appeals for help against the blaze of ideas.  These cries of its enemies mean as much for the philosophy as the first cry of a child for the anxious ear of the mother.  They are the cry of life of the ideas which have burst open the orderly hieroglyphic husk of the system and become citizens of the world.’”

“As France’s feudal system became drained of viability, the landed aristocracy, for whom preserving feudalism was vital if their socio-economic conditions were going to be maintained, went on the offensive against upstart pro-capitalist-order protestants, whose rejection of the Catholic Church’s authority the feudalists considered downright ‘satanic.’”

“’In 1521 the Parliament of Paris, with the approval of the king, forbade publication of Lutherian tracts coming from Germany . . .  The theological faculty of Paris formulated a plan for preventing the spread of such errors.  The/ir/ plan dictated that heretical books should be forbidden, and that bishops should be exhorted to seek out such works in their dioceses and have them destroyed.’”

“A decade later, Frenchmen who openly challenged the feudal Church, whether in speech or in writing, were being put to death. Twenty-four Parisian ‘heretics’ were burned at the stake in 1534 alone.”

“The bloodiest struggles attending the exhaustion of European feudalism took place in Germany.  Limited and insecure access to the Atlantic Ocean, and none to the Mediterranean Sea, had restricted trade between Prussia and other countries/regions, including Africa and the New World.  As a result, the creation of a subcommunity of capitalist financiers, craft-producers and merchants had not proceeded as far as it had in France.”

“Instead, as Germany’s feudal order lost viability in the 13th century, hundreds-of-thousands of  Germans reproduced their social existence by migrating eastward, settling less populated regions of Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Poland and, eventually, Russia.”

“By the 16th century that door was closing, making the expropriation of Church property the easiest, for many young nobles, the only remaining option.”

“As a consequence, from 1618-48, Prussians battled over who would exercise feudal control of the land.  When the Thirty Years War ended, more than 9 million Germans, 20-30 percent of the population, had been killed.  But the strain on the region’s feudal socio-economic-political organization had been momentarily relieved.”

“Not until the unification of Germany under Otto von Bismark in 1871 were capitalist financiers and industrialists finally brought into the ascendant.”

“In his celebrated book, The Third Wave, Alvin Toffler acknowledged the violence which accompanied the capitalists’ accession to power in the United States, saying:

“’The Civil War was not fought exclusively, as it seemed to many, over the moral issue of slavery or such narrow economic issues as tariffs.  It was fought over a much larger question: would the rich new continent be ruled by farmers or industrializers’”.

“The Russian Revolution of 1917 and the three-year Civil War which followed ended  feudalism in that country, transferring control to state-capitalist financiers, industrialists, and their political representatives, ironically, in the name of socialism and communism.  Twenty million lives were lost in that struggle; a metamorphosis Toffler called  ‘Russia’s version of the American Civil War;’ ‘/F/ought not primarily, as it seemed, over communism, but once again over the issue of industrialization.’”

“China underwent the same revolution in the 1930s and 40s, suffering an even greater loss of life. There, too, the building of an increasingly vibrant, though environmentally devastating, state-capitalist productive-distributive order has been the result.”

“Mr. Machiavelli observed China has 10 billionaires.  According to the latest Financial Times, that number has now grown to 106, ninety percent of them children of the country’s top 2,900 political authorities.”

(Marx paused briefly before posing another rhetorical question).

“What does our species 200,000 year socio-economic-political evolution have to do with the neocons’ strategy for seizing control of Iraq’s oil and making the United States’ imperial leader of the world?”


“Today, Americans need to ask themselves five fundamental questions:”

“* Has capitalism, like hunting and gathering, nomadic-slave and feudal productive-distributive systems before it, been drained of viability; has it, as I will argue, reached its terminal stage?”

“* Is capitalism ‘sowing the seeds of its own destruction,’ creating ever-larger communities of people whose social existences it cannot sustain, and momentous  problems it’s unable to resolve?”

“* Is capitalism simultaneously forging its own successor; i.e., is a new, problem-solving, order coming into being within capitalist countries, a new way of relating people to one another, and to the production and distribution of goods?”

“* If so, are representatives of that nascent order beginning to threaten the elites who continue to benefit from the moribund capitalist system of production and distribution.”

“And the most urgent question:”

“* Are those whose interests are challenged moving toward an oppressive good-versus-evil, defense of their troubled order?”

(Marx paused once more, this time for several moments.  When he resumed speaking he had riveted his gaze on Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Brit Hume, John Gibson and Neil Cavuto as though addressing them alone).

“After proposing the United States has been defensively exporting its manufacturing base to low-wage nations, Mr. Machiavelli added: ‘Dr. Marx and his disciples would have us believe capitalists are driven by an insatiable lust for increased profit.’”

“He, very conveniently, misrepresented my position.”

“I’ve consistently argued what every successful businessman will confirm: For capitalists, there can be no treading water.”

“With more and more countries having to construct capitalist systems to maintain their growing populations, with the U.S. population and that of other established capitalist states increasing, the choice for each individual entrepreneur is  clear: Go forward or go down!”

“To compete, not merely with each other, but with South Korean, Chinese and Indian neo-capitalist producers entering the global market, U.S., Japanese, French, German, British et al., manufacturers must sell ever greater quantities of shirts, shoes, suits, plates, pots and pans, hand tools, refrigerators and blenders, TVs, cars and motorcycles, etc.”

“Selling that greater quantity of goods forces capitalists to engage in a never-ending expansion and sophistication of production; which, in turn, requires a  constant growth in profit.”

“I described this process in Das Kapital, writing: ‘The development of capitalist production makes it constantly necessary to keep increasing the amount of the capital laid out in a given industrial undertaking, and competition makes the immanent laws of capitalist production to be felt by each individual capitalist as external coercive laws.  It compels him to keep constantly extending his capital, in order to preserve it, but extend it he cannot, except by means of progressive accumulation.’”

“The problem for many Third World states today is that when capitalist countries buy their labor-non-intensive mineral/agricultural products and pour in ever-larger quantities of shoes, shirts, pots and pans, they cut the throats of millions of poor Saudis, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Afghanis, Indonesians, Algerians, Moroccans, Egyptians and Filipinos who survive by hand-making shoes and sandals, shirts, turbans and other items of native attire, or by hammering out pots and pans, or, by forming and firing pottery and plates.”

“And it’s not only the poor whose lives are being ravaged.”

“Capitalism’s aggressive economic penetration of nonindustrialized countries with TVs, CDs, DVDs and movies, is also devastating middle-class artists and actors, replacing their nations’ traditional tastes with those of Japan and the industrial West, while  providing them, like the poor, with nothing in the way of alternative occupations.”

“Even highly educated children of Mid Eastern elites, doctors, dentists, architects, chemists and engineers, are finding the virulent capitalist invasion leaves no place for them.”

“The poor can’t afford doctors and dentists.  There aren’t enough people in the middle class to pay for their professional services.  And the elites fly to New York, London or Paris for their own medical/dental procedures.”

“When Mid Eastern oil Sheikhs have palaces and shopping malls constructed in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, when they build airports, seaports, luxury hotels, theaters, fantasy playlands and skyscrapers in Dubai, or a massive water pipeline in the United Arab Emirates, they contract with global corporations like Halliburton, Bechtel, Fluor, Parsons, Kajima and Taisei.”

“Those companies have their own architects and engineers. They don’t hire local professionals.  They also bring in low-paid, semi-slave workers from the Philippines, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who toil 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, doing the menial labor.”

“With no less painful option left for maintaining their social existences, or that of their nations’ middle class and poor, some educated sons and daughters of Mid Eastern and Asian feudal elites begin formulating plans for expropriating Western interests, along with their countries’ Western-oriented elites, and establishing structures which can, at least momentarily, sustain them all; structures which, e.g. post-Khomeini Iran, are in some ways terribly reactionary, in others, progressive.”

“Ergo, the material origins of the ‘muslim terrorist’ challenge now confronting capitalist states.”

“It’s not mere chance that Osama bin Laden, whose father was the billionaire owner of a construction company, studied Business Administration and Engineering; that Ayman al-Zawahiri was a pediatric surgeon, his father a pharmacologist; or that Abu Hafisa, the Moroccan who directed the 2004 Madrid train bombing, is a psychiatrist.”

“Nor is it chance that Mohamed Atta’s university degree was in architecture, while ‘terrorist’ Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s was in mechanical engineering.”

“So, too, with ‘terrorist’ Palestinian leaders whose peoples’ lives Israel is currently destroying.  Fathi Abd Al-Aziz, the founder of Islamic Jihad, was a physician.  Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas, is a surgeon, as was the late Hamas leader, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi.”

“Moreover, it’s not just capitalist manufacturers and financiers whose activities are  devastating Third World peoples.  The agribusinesses of advanced capitalist nations are equally aggressive in eliminating their jobs. They are also destroying their environments, and impairing their health.”

“Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), for the past 13 years Mexico’s corn and bean farmers have suffered a relentless assault by U.S. agricultural corporations, driving an estimated 6 million of them from the land.”

“According to investigative reporter John Ross, ‘New Years 2008 may prove to be /their/ doomsday.’”

“On that day, in accordance with the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) ‘all tariffs on corn and beans will be abolished.’  The ’Zero tariffs,’ ‘are expected to trigger a tsunami of corn imports, much of it genetically modified,’ Ross predicts, forcing additional millions of Mexico’s small producers from their farms.”

“The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has documented that the U.S. agribusiness Cargill uses ‘massive government subsidies’ to dump huge quantities ‘of grains in poorer countries,’ ‘undermining small farmers, destroying local food production systems, and making rural economies dependent.’”

“Greenpeace charges the U.S. agribusiness corporations, Cargill, Archer-Daniels-Midland, and Bunge, with ‘Eating up the Amazon,’ financing ‘unscrupulous’ Brazilian farmers who ‘seize and clear’ ‘publicly owned rainforest land for the production of soybeans.’”

“Ten thousand square miles of Amazon rainforest were cleared in 2006 alone, the burning of tree stumps and branches spewing 370 million tons of hydrocarbons into the air.”

“Cargill, Brazil’s largest exporter of soybeans and sugar, provides few jobs, nearly all of them extremely low-paid.  Many Brazilian farmers under contract with Cargill have been found to use slave labor.”

“Monsanto, Cargill, and other U.S. agribusinesses are also destroying the infrastructure of rural India. By bribing Indian officials, they’ve succeeded in promoting cotton and rice seeds genetically engineered to produce sterile plants, forcing the country’s small farmers to buy new seeds yearly at prices few of them can afford.”

“Nor can Indian farmers rely on traditional seeds, since their plants cross-pollinate with those of Monsanto and Cargill, producing seeds which are also sterile.”

“Adding insult to injury, when an agribusiness corporation is able to demonstrate that a farmer’s fertile seeds contain a gene of its engineered plants, it takes him to court and forces him to pay for using his own seeds.”

“If, despite the formidible hurdles U.S. agribusinesses place in his path, an Indian farmer has a good crop, it must then compete with cotton the same corporations produce in the U.S., using a $4 billion government subsidy they receive each year to keep the international price of cotton low.”

“India’s farmers once produced all of the country’s edible oils from mustard seed, sesame seed, linseed and coconut.  Then, in 1998, Physicist Vandana Shiva relates, ‘Monsanto and Cargill obtained a ‘ban on indigenous oils.’  Today, 70 percent of India’s edible oils are soya and palm, ‘dumped on’ the country by U.S. global corporations.”

“During the past decade, the activities of Cargill, Monsanto, Unilever, ADM and other agribusiness corporations, have led more than 165,000 of India’s small farmers to commit suicide; many of them (the cruelest of ironies), by drinking Monsanto’s glyphosphate pesticide, RoundUp.”

“Where Cargill’s soybean production is destroying the Amazon rainforest, the purchase of massive and growing quantities of palm oil by U.S., Japanese and European capitalist corporations is doing the same thing to the rainforests of Borneo.”

“Since 1990, Indonesia has razed 61 million acres of its South Borneo rainforests, planting palm oil trees in their stead; and, it plans to level and palm-tree-plant another 61 million acres by 2030.”

“Replaced with palm oil tree plantations, Malaysia’s immense North Borneo rainforests have almost disappeared, along with the orangutan and exotic birds which lived in them.”

“Finally, the U.S., and other capitalist states whose productive orders are approaching the terminal stage, are not only eliminating employment in the Third World, they are doing it at home as well.”

“The off-shoring of U.S. manufacture was Step-One of a process now impacting nearly every occupation.”

“If you have a problem with your computer (probably made in China) and phone the  manufacturer, you’ll speak with a technician living in India.”

“Call your hospital to challenge an expense and you may discuss it with someone in Ireland employed by the firm that does the hospital’s billing.”

“Doctors and dentists have begun to feel the effect of this Natural and Necessary phenomenon.”

“Google ‘medical tours,’ and you will receive over 500 ‘hits’ promoting plastic surgery, kidney transplant, heart-bypass, knee, hip and shoulder-joint replacement at hospitals located in Mexico, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, even Iran.”

“You’re assured the physicians have received the latest training—very likely in the West—and, that they use the most up-to-date diagnostic and medical equipment, sold to them by Japanese or Western capitalist corporations.”

“Besides a round-trip flight, surgery and hospitalization, the tour agency will arrange for your recovery in a luxury hotel, fed according to your personal tastes, and visited regularly by a physician; all for a fraction of what you would pay for these services at home.”

“Google “dental tours,” and you’ll get only a few less hits;’ with Costa Rico, Turkey and Croatia included among the countries where you could have transmacular joint surgery or tooth implantation performed.”

“Then, there’s information technology (IT).”

According to the conventional wisdom of large corporations which obtain H1 and L1 visas for foreign (principally Indian) IT employees, there’s a dire shortage of Americans trained in that field.”

“Economist Paul Craig Roberts has countered that proposition, citing numerous corre-spondents who are unable to find IT jobs despite having impressive credentials.”

“One, a resident of Dayton, Ohio, wrote Roberts: ‘I feel like an alien in my own country—as if Dayton had been colonized by India.  NCR and other local employers have either offshored most of their IT work or rely heavily on Indian guest workers.  The IT department of National City Bank across the street from LexisNexis is entirely Indian.  The nearby apartment complexes house large numbers of Indian guest workers filling the engineering needs of many area businesses.’”

“Today, Roberts adds, ‘the jobs of Indian guest workers may /themselves/ be on the verge of being offshored’.  ‘The relentless drive for cheap labor now threatens the foreign guest workers who displaced America’s own engineers.’”

“‘Princeton University economist Alan Blinder estimates 30 to 40 million American high end service jobs ultimately face offshoring.’”

“’In the developed world, Asia Times /recently reported/, particularly in the United States, the scope of jobs disappearing overseas is widening beyond all imagining, to professions that almost nobody expected to be hit, and with far higher incomes than anybody thought possible . . .  From engineering to equity research and financial management, to knowledge management, to revenue-cycle management – a whole panorama of high-income employment are inexorably going. . . .  McKinsey & Co, the international consulting firm, projects that the flight of jobs offshore to developing countries will grow by 30-40 percent a year over the next five years.’”

“Regarding the lower-end service jobs of middle-class Americans, it’s fairly obvious who’s helping capitalism do them in: They are! ”

“From food chains, to Walmart, to Home Depot and Lowe’s, large retail stores have  installed do-it-yourself checkout stands, significantly reducing the number of employees required for given dollar amounts of sales.”

“Provided helpful instructions by Home Depot and other hardware outlets, millions of  Americans are doing their own plumbing, painting, electrical work and remodeling.”

“Using Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), and internet on-line banking, in little more than a decade Americans have produced a 50 percent decline in the number of cashiers and tellers banks need.”

“What kinds of low-tech jobs is capitalism providing to replace those which disappear?  Drug pusher, prostitute, police officer, prison guard, security guard and border guard are among the more important.”

“Over 260 privately operated prisons have sprung into existence, offering investment opportunities and modestly paid ‘careers’ to Americans who are able to justify defining fellow citizens as criminals’ for using or selling, often small amounts, of marijuana or cocaine.”

“The U.S. now has 2.2 million people in jail: 737 per 100,000, as compared with its closest capitalist-country rivals (England 148 per 100,000, Japan 62, and France 85.)”

“Fifty-five percent of federal prison inmates are incarcerated for drug offenses, only 11 percent for violent crimes.”

“Selected American universities have been designated ‘Homeland Security Management  Institutes,’ and offer a wide variety of courses on law enforcement.”

“The Department of Labor predicts that by 2012 there will be a 22.4 percent increase in detectives and criminal investigators, a 24 percent increase in patrol officers, correctional officers and ‘first line managers of police and detectives,’ and, a 31.8 percent increase in security guards.”

“But the most expedient instrument being used to keep the U.S. capitalist economy afloat is the Military-Industrial complex.”

“Professor Joan Roelofs detailed its operation in a CounterPunch essay.”

“’Spread throughout the country,’ Roelofs wrote: ‘war industries are crucial in providing employment in . . . the rust belt of the Midwest, the shoe belt of New England, the cotton belt of the South.’”

“’The MI corporations and their employees are major consumers in their communities, purchasing real estate., furniture, clothing, food, medical services, entertainment, tap dancing lessons, etc.’”

“’/T/he military is deeply involved with disaster relief, which brings many more good people into its orbit: Red Cross volunteers, state and local government officials and staff, Vista Workers, etc. . . . Northrop is very generous to career services’ officers in higher education.  Programs preparing disadvantaged students for college do well.’”

“’Military contractors are attentive to every kind of minority organization: Asians Against Domestic Abuse, and the Vietnamese American Community (Halliburton); the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and the National Society of Black Engineers (Northrop Grumman); the Holocaust Museum and the Chinese Community Center (GE).  Boeing has funded the Congressional Black Caucus and the Urban League.  Lockheed even contributes to the Sons of Norway. . . .  Children are nurtured: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, YWCAs, Little Leagues, UNICEF, Children’s Defense Fund, etc., receive substantial grants.’”

“In the ‘go forward or go down’ world of capitalism, preventing its economy from imploding now requires the U.S. to sell ever-increasing quantities of guns, planes and bombs.  That, Roberts observes, makes Hezbollah and Iran ‘terrorists’ ipso facto, for the simple reason ‘they don’t receive billions in U.S. military aid and cannot put armies in the field with American tanks.’”

“Machiavelli tacitly acknowledged the connection between the United States’ military-industrial complex and its foreign policy when he remarked that defending the country’s Third World interests from expropriation after WWII led it to drastically increase the production and sale of weapons.”

“However, he offered no materialist explanation for the growing challenge to U.S. investments in the underdeveloped world.”

“From the 1960s to the 90s U.S. corporations with threatened Latin American interests had their own novel theory.”

“A ‘Revolution of Rising Expectations’ was taking place, they reasoned.  Life for Central and South Americans was improving.  But, made aware of First World luxuries by the media, many young people were impatiently, and unjustly, proposing violence to acquire a share.”

“The U.S. government promoted this idealist nonsense, ignoring the mountain of material evidence presented by social scientists and investigative journalists that, except for the region’s elites, conditions were rapidly worsening for most Latin Americans.”

“As in the Middle East today, many of the elites’ sons and daughters were unable to find employment which could socio-economically sustain them; while, particularly in Peru, Northeastern Brazil, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Uruguay and El Salvador, poor indian communities were experiencing a suffering they hadn’t known since the 1930s.”

“As in the Middle East today, the socio-economic injury which children of South America’s elites were experiencing prompted the more humane among them to discover/empathize-with the far greater distress of the poor.”

“Embracing that part of my theory which describes exhausted feudal orders of production being replaced by capitalist systems, like the Russian and Chinese revolutionaries before them, they proposed seizing large foreign businesses and using the profit which operating them yielded to industrialize their countries, erecting state-capitalist systems that would provide employment for their middle class and poor, as well as for themselves.”

“You know the rest of the story, so I won’t waste time on elaborate detail.”

“The Latin American rebels were menacing major U.S. corporations, and that was sufficient for the U.S. to identify them as ‘communists’ and go on the attack.”

“”Make the economy scream!’, Nixon ordered when Chile’s President Salvador Allende seized I.T.T. and the U.S. copper multinationals, offering to pay what the expropriated corporations claimed their properties were worth when paying taxes.”

“With indispensable U.S. assistance, Allende was overthrown on September 11th, 1973, and General Augusto Pinochet, a fascist dictator who sincerely believed he was purifying his country of evil, seized power.”

“That corporate victory was followed by ’Operation Condor,’ beginning in 1975.”

“Right-wing generals and admirals took control in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay and joined with Pinochet to identify and assassinate the hotheaded youths leading the struggle for change; simultaneously suppressing worker/peasants movements.”

“At least 30,000 humanistic young men and women lost their lives in Operation Condor. Many were brutally tortured and buried, or, tossed into the sea, some alive, some dead, from helicopters and planes.”

“As with Allende’s deposal, Operation Condor would have been impossible without U.S. sponsorship and grandscale military and logistical aid.”

“During the 1980s Central America was similarly bought, bullied and butchered back in line.  An estimated 200,000 poor indians were slaughtered in the process, entire villages wiped out.”

“Then, came the 2000  dot-com catastrophe.”

“Machiavelli observed the attendant U.S. stock market losses exceeded $7 trillion.”

“What he neglected to add is that 82 percent of those stocks are held by the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans, which meant over $5.7 trillion of the loss was suffered by the rich.”

“The U.S. economy was in the doldrums, with many large companies hurting badly.”

“Bechtel Corporation’s earnings peaked at $15.1 billion in 1999, then plummeted to $11.6 billion in 2002.”

“Halliburton was also having trouble.”

“Under Dick Cheney’s guidance Halliburton merged with Dresser Industries in 1998, becoming the largest oilfield engineering, services and construction corporation in the world.”

“But Dresser had lost numerous suits for asbestos related deaths, resulting in a 43 percent drop in the value of Halliburton’s stock in 2001.”

“With the collapse of the Soviet Union and ending of the Cold War, U.S. defense budgets had also fallen throughout the 1990s and employment in the defense industry fell with it.  More than 2 millions defense industry jobs were lost between 1992 and 2001.”

“Keeping in mind that communities always unify around those ideas which will most effortlessly sustain them: With the United States’ economy depressed and much of its manufacturing base off-shored, with the largest, most profitable remaining industries military-industrial in nature, what would you expect this country to do?”


“Representatives of the U.S. elite whose social existences were most in jeopardy spontaneously discovered/created an enemy whose defeat would require spending from hundreds of billions, to incalculable trillions of dollars on military hardware and military conquest: Islamic terrorists;’ meaning any Muslim who stands up against the United States’ increasingly injurious practices in their countries.”

“Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy and a neocon defender, has stated the essence of their brilliantly profitable and pragmatic logic:”

“We’re in ‘a war for the Free World. . . . /a/ conflict in which nothing less is at stake than our ability—and that of our children and grandchildren—to live in freedom and prosperity. . . . We are at war primarily with adherents to a dangerous, totalitarian ideology–Islamofascism.’”

“Since Saddam was a Muslim, since he sided with the Palestinian struggle against Israel, and resisted U.S./British attempts to gain control of his country’s economy, and, more importantly, its oil, it made sense to begin the war against Islamofascism by invading Iraq.”

“In preparation, a month before the attack Cheney convened an ‘Energy Task Force’ whose members included executives and lobbyists from Enron, Exxon-Mobil, Conoco-Phillips, Shell and BP America.’”

“Richard Behan relates Cheney’s Task Force ‘poured over detailed maps of the Iraqi oil fields, pipelines, tanker terminals, refineries and undeveloped oil exploration blocks /and/ studied two pages of “foreign suitors for Iraqi oil field contracts”; companies negotiating with Saddam Hussein’s regime, none of which was a major American or British firm.’”

“For many major U.S. corporations, the remarkable financial benefits coming from the ‘anti-terrorist’ invasion of Iraq were immediate.”

“Bechtel enjoyed ‘a revenue of $16.3 billion in 2003, reversing a three-year slide.’”

“In March 2004 the San Francisco Chronicle reported:”

“’. . . the invasion provided a multibillion-dollar boost to the United States’ largest construction and engineering firms.  Although Bechtel Corp. and Halliburton have received the most public scrutiny, the billions of tax dollars pouring into Iraq’s reconstruction also flow through such competitors as Parsons Corp., Fluor Corp. and Washington Group International.  For sheer size of contracts, none of the reconstruction firms can rival Halliburton . . . . The company, once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, holds contracts potentially worth between $12.6 billion and $16.8 billion.  Bechtel won $2.83 billion in contracts for repairing electrical plants, water systems, airports and railways.’”

“For U.S. weapons manufacturers, the ‘war on terror’ has been downright glorious. ’Since September 12, 2001’, writes Robert Dreyfuss, ‘defense spending has exploded.  For 2008, the Bush Administration /has/ request/ed/ a staggering $650 billion, compared to the already staggering $400 billion the Pentagon collected in 2001 . . . U.S. defense spending in 2008 will amount to 29 times the combined military spending of all six so-called rogue states: Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.’”

“In an article of October 31st, 2007, Robert Scheer noted Lockheed Martin had already ‘reaped a 22 percent increase in profit’ for the year, ‘while rivals for the defense buck, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, increased profits by 62 percent and 22 percent, respectively, and Boeing’s profits jumped 61 percent.’”

“Following their anti-Muslim-terrorist logic, the Bush neocons have spread the largess derived from conquering and killing them widely.”

“Between 9/11, 2001 and June 2007, Bush requested, and Congress granted, $44 billion for biological warfare research. BASF, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly Corp, Monsanto and Pfizer are among the many companies reputed to be involved.”

“U.S. mercenaries are benefitting handsomely.  The State Department’s ‘private security’ corporations DynCorp International, Triple Canopy and Blackwater USA, have been awarded contracts valued at over $4 billion, Blackwater alone receiving $1 billion since 2001.  Dyncorp was awarded a contract for $1.2 billion to train Iraqi police, and another $600 million to assist with ‘drug eradication’ in Colombia, Bolivia and Peru.”

“Even two public relations firms, The Rendon Group, and The Lincoln Group, have been cut in on the take.”

“By 2005 Rendon and Lincoln had been paid more than $400 million for helping sell the Iraq War to Americans and Iraqis, and for polishing the image of the U.S.-installed governments of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“From the outset of the war, with its economy starved for profit, the U.S. has made a ‘grab-and-gobble’ effort to extract it from Iraq.”

“The Organic Consumers Association describes how in 1991, and again in 2003, ‘U.S. bombing raids targeted cattle feed lots, poultry farms, fertilizer warehouses, pumping stations, irrigation systems, fuel depots and pesticide factories, the very infrastructure of Iraqi agriculture.’”

“Then, ‘one month after shock and awe,’ Daniel Amstutz, a ‘former Cargil Corporation executive,’ was assigned ‘to oversee’ Iraqi agriculture’s ‘rehabilitation’. “

“Before leaving Iraq in June, 2004, L. Paul Bremer, Head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, issued a body of ‘orders’ mandating the kind of make-money-by-driving-Third-World-peoples-to-the-wall policies which are causing such deep hatred of the United States throughout most of the Middle East.”

“Antonia Juhasz reviewed Bremer’s more truculent dictates in Foreign Policy in Focus:”

“’Order #17: grants foreign contractors, including private security firms, full immunity from Iraq’s laws.  Even if they kill someone or cause environmental damage, such as by dumping toxic chemicals or poisoning drinking water, the injured party can not turn to the Iraqi legal system; the charges must be brought to U.S. courts under U.S. laws.’”

“’Order #39: Privatization of Iraq’s state-owned enterprises; allows 100-percent foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses; unrestricted tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; 40-year ownership licenses; /it permits/ U.S. corporations operating in Iraq to own every business, do all the work, and send all their money home.  Nothing needs to be reinvested locally . . . no Iraqi need be hired, no public services need to be guaranteed, and workers’ rights can easily be ignored.’”

“’Order #40: turns the banking sector from a state-run to a market-driven system, allowing foreign banks to . . . purchase up to 50 percent of Iraqi banks.’”

“’Order #49: drops the tax rate on corporations from 40 percent to a flat rate of 15 percent.  The income tax rate is also capped at 15 percent.’”

“IF your understanding of matters economic, social and political is determined by material evidence, by now I will have convinced you that:”

“Except for a diminishing number of First and Third World elites, 21st century capitalism is making it difficult-to-impossible for peoples in both hemispheres to reproduce their social existence; and, the principal instrument the United States currently uses to hold its capitalist structure together is military-industrial expenditure, justified by the neocons’ insane anti-terrorist vision.”

“But that’s not the worst of terminal capitalism’s tragic impresses.”

“Straddling the earth like a biomechanical beast, it inflicts environmental destruction and lethal pollution around the globe; and those injuries are being done to everyone, from wealthy Saudi, U.S. and Chinese elites, to the most destitute communities of Afghanistan and Sub-Saharan Africa.”

“Google ‘pollution of _________,’ typing in the name of any country, state, province, large city, ocean, river or lake, and you will get page after page of ‘hits’ describing the poisoning of our species’ food, air and water, the destruction of the global environment, the crippling-to-fatal diseases which the poisoning and environmental destruction are producing; and, the failure of anyone, anywhere, to do anything meaningful about it.”

“To quote from just a few such hits’.”

“The Mediterranean Sea: ‘Italy’s environmental minister said that in thirty years care of the Mediterranean Sea it has not improved, /it/ has worsened. . . . Much of the fish we eat comes from the Mediterranean, so if we pollute it, we are polluting ourselves. . . . Mercury levels in fish are 20 times the maximum levels recommended by the UN World Health Organization, while human intake of polycylic hydrocarbons—derived chiefly from petroleum and coal tar—are 100 times permissible levels.’”

“The Caspian Sea: ‘The oil industry is one of the main sources of Caspian Sea pollution. /T/wo countries, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, extract oil from offshore fields, /and/ Russia plans to start in the next one or two years.  There is also contamination of soil and groundwater with agricultural chemicals, pesticides, salination, and water-logging of soil due to poor irrigation methods.’”

“Lake Baikal: ‘Fed by 300 rivers, Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest (more than a mile), and oldest (30 million years), lake and its largest body of fresh water.  Baikal is now badly polluted, principally by pulp and paper mills and oil spills.’”

“The Aral Sea: ‘The Aral Sea of Central Asia is laden with sewage, pesticides and fertilizers.  When the Soviet Union diverted the Ama Dariya and the Syrdariya rivers which fed the Aral to grow cotton in the desert, they created an ecogical and human disaster. What was the world’s fourth biggest inland sea is now mostly desert.  The human misery is huge.  Tuberculosis is rife and on the increase in the population.’ ‘Cancers, lung disease and infant mortality are 30 times greater than they used to be because the drinking water is heavily polluted with salt, cotton fertilizers and pesticides.’”

“Onondaga Lake: ‘New York’s Onondaga Lake, which feeds Lake Ontario, is now among the world’s most polluted, laced with hazardous chemicals by the Olin Corporation, one of the companies which dumped tons of toxic chemicals into Love Canal, destroying the town.  Olin also shipped 40-tons of mercury to Nicaragua and poured it into Lake Managua.’”

“The Great Lakes: ‘Industry and farmers on land surrounding the Great Lakes have used the lakes to dispose of waste chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) produced in the manufacture of electrical equipment, and organochlorine insecticides such as dieldrin and DDT.   A report for the Canadian government has called living by the Great Lakes a “hazard to human health”.  Scientists have found increasing evidence that pollutants in the water are causing insidious neurological damage, particularly in children, and infertility among adults.’”

“The Hudson River: ‘People living in towns and cities along New York’s Hudson River are cautioned not to eat its PCB-laden fish, including shad and sea bass, or, to drink or bathe in its waters.’”

“The Nile River: ‘Nile River pollution includes municipal waste water, industrial “black spots,” and household rubbish that find their way directly to the 120 kilometer area where the Nile ends its journey and meets the Mediterranean. Damietta, Egypt’s population of over 914,614 depends on this heavily polluted stretch of river as its only source of water.  More than half of the patients treated at Damietta Hospital’s Internal Medicine Unit suffer liver and kidney diseases and infections because of the polluted water they drink.’”

“The Amazon Rainforest: ‘Environmentalists estimate that around 2.5 million acres of the Amazon rainforest were compromised or destroyed in Texaco’s search for oil in Ecuador.  It is a disaster that has left the jungle ravaged and its people dying of cancer.’”

“’Members of an indigenous tribe from the Peruvian Amazon are suing the oil giant Occidental Petroleum in California’s Superior Court  . . . Andres Sandi Mucushua, a tribal representative, said: “My people are sick and dying because of Oxy.  The water in our streams is not fit to drink and we can no longer eat the fish in our rivers or the animals in our forests.”’

“The Amazon River: ‘In the last 20-30 years, carnivorous predators have undergone large declines and native fishermen have an increasing number of health risks facing them.’ ’The Amazon River Dolphin was listed as a vulnerable species in 1994.  The Giant Otter has been listed as an endangered species since 1973.  Along main tributaries epidemiological and toxicological data have shown high mercury levels in fish-eating riverside populations.’”

“The Yangtze River: ‘The Yangtze River has become the biggest sewer system in China.’  According to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in the Three Gorges reservoir area alone ‘there are over 3,000 industrial and mining enterprises, which release more than one billion tons of wastewater annually, containing more than 50 different pollutants.  Included in the wastewater are such poisonous elements as mercury, cadmium, chronium, arsenic, phenol, lead, and cyanide.’”

“The Gulf of Mexico: ‘Three times as much nitrogen is being carried into the Gulf today compared with levels 30 years ago or at any time in history.  The Mississippi River enters the Gulf as a “toxic soup.” Every summer there is an area south of the Louisiana coastline larger than Massachusetts that is hypoxic.  These waters do not carry enough oxygen to sustain marine life.’”

“The Indian Ocean: ‘During a six-week expedition from February to April 1999, a team of scientists from the U.S.A., Europe, India, and the Maldive Islands, participating in the Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX), found a mass of pollution as large as the area of the United States – four million square miles or 100 million square kilometers.  The polluted areas include the Arabian Sea, between India and the Arabian peninsula, and the Bay of Bengal, between India and Southeast Asia.  Countries located within the Indian Ocean include Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and the Maldives, located southwest of India. The whole Indian subcontinent is surrounded by massive pollution.’”

“As for the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, it should suffice to remind you of what you’ve been reading and hearing about for several decades: the dying of coral reefs vital to ocean food chains; pollution from nuclear testing; pesticide and fertilizer runoff from large farms; medicines—ranging from aspirin, to contraceptive pills, to antibiotics—excreted and leached into the seas; the Pacific swordfish you’re warned to avoid, the salmon and tuna you’re cautioned to eat no more than once a week, and not at all if you’re pregnant.”

“Then, there’s ‘acid rain’. The use of coal as a primary fuel is a major source of the pollution of earth’s air and water with sulfur dioxide and mercury.  ‘China’s dust and soot cloud travels all the way to the United States.  In California, Professor Tom Cahill tracks pollution across the Pacific, and a lot of what he sees these days comes from China.’  ’It’s estimated China may one day generate five times more pollution than it does today.’”

“Poured into the air by coal burning power plants, the coal dust returns to earth as acid rain and snow.  Sulfuric acid, nitric acid and carbonic acid from cars, trucks, and factory farm operations are acid rain’s other main components.”

“As a result, hundreds of thousands of acres of trees in the Northeastern U.S. are either threatened or dying; as are forests throughout Scandinavia and Western Europe.”

“Vast tracts of the Czech Republic’s Jizera Mountains’ forests have perished, and acid rain has destroyed so much of Germany’s famous Black Forest that it’s often referred to as ‘dead.’”

“Driven by rapid industrial development, acid rain is an impending disaster in China, India, Russia and the Republic of Korea. Between 1990 and 2010 Asia’s sulfur dioxide emissions are predicted to tripple.”

“And it’s not just trees that are being injured by the acid rain. Entering lakes, stream and rivers, the acid is killing insects, fish and shore birds.  Virgina’s native trout streams are succumbing, as are many of the lakes, streams and rivers of Wales.

“The world’s oceans are also becoming increasingly acidic.  Their acid content increased by 30 percent in the last few decades, affecting everything that lives in, or is dependent upon them, including humans.”

“Yet the U.S. Big-Coal industry (which is at once Big-Oil, Big Natural Gas, and Big-Nuclear, since they are now largely merged) is pushing for more.”

“’Antrim Caskey laments: ‘Just as the American people and the world are beginning to recognize the necessity of shifting to renewable energies, Big Coal is pushing its dirty fossil fuel as the solution to /the United States’ energy/ crisis.  Big coal and its cohorts envision a “clean coal technology” future by liquifying and gasifying coal, capturing the carbon emissions and injecting them underground.  But scientists and environmentalists say “clean coal” does not exist. The National Resources Defense Council says that using the term “clean coal” makes about as much sense as saying “safe cigarettes.’”

“’The extraction and cleaning of coal inevitably decimates ecosystems and communities.’ Robert Kennedy Jr. writes: ‘Coal is only cheap if one ignores its calamitous externalized costs, dead forests and sterilized lakes from acid rain, poisoned fisheries in 49 states and children with damaged brains and crippled health from mercury emissions, millions of asthma attacks and lost work days.  If the American people could see what I have seen from the air and ground during trips to the coalfields of Kentucky and West Virginia: leveled mountains and ruined lives, there would be a revolution in this country.’”

“Big Coal’s representatives have been licking their lips at the prospect of tearing the tops off more U.S. mountains to sell vast quantities of coal to China, whose own coal mining operations result in the deaths of 6,000 miners every year.”


“What can be done about the global catastrophe I’ve described: the environmental desolation, the elimination of social existence sustaining, earth-protecting, employment?”

“While I’m open to argument, my own answer to that question is Nothing! Nothing—until and unless the capitalist order of production and distribution is dismantled and replaced.”

“Alarmed, governments around the world have been passing laws aimed at cleaning up streams, lakes and seas and regulating acid producing emissions, but the problems only continue to worsen.”

“According to a recent estimate published in Time Magazine, reducing sulfur dioxide emissions by 50 percent in the Northeast U.S. alone would cost $7 billion yearly.  If so, doing it globally would cost trillions.  And that would do nothing about all the other environmental devastation.”

“Just cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch ‘isn’t an option,’ says Chris Parry of the California Coastal Commission, and his colleagues agree.”

“The ‘Garbage Patch’ may be the ultimate iconic representation of what our species is doing to the environment.  ‘An enormous island  of trash, twice the size of Texas, floating in the Pacific between San Francisco and Hawaii,’ the patch is ’80 percent plastic, weighs more than 3.5 million tons,’ and is ‘growing at a brisk rate.‘”

“Given its size, content and distance from land, removing the patch would be a mega-trillion-dollar operation, requiring the design and construction of special equipment; and a second, smaller garbage patch is floating between Hawaii and Japan.”

“As for the world’s mounting unemployment, European capitalist states have begun following the United States’ and Israel’s lead, labelling individuals whose actions disrupt their injurious practices at home ‘criminals,’ then putting them in jail; those who do it abroad, ‘terrorists,’ and employing military violence to suppress them.”

“An honest examination of capitalism’s contamination of the planet’s air, streams, lakes, rivers and seas with myriad pollutants from myriad sources, the oil, mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium, nitrogen, cyanide, toluene, styrene, phosphate, sulfur dioxide, antibiotics and PCBs, its mad use of nuclear energy and equally mad proposals to ‘safely’ store nuclear waste, along with its elimination of jobs in both the First and Third worlds, can only lead to one conclusion:”

“The capitalist productive-distributive order isn’t up to the task of stopping the global cataclysm it’s creating, let alone building a better world.”

“Capitalist states are no more capable of solving the disastrous problems they’re causing than nomadic slave communities could have built houses and chateaux for feudal Europe, or European feudal communities could have satisfied the need for factories, and the clothing, weaponry, railways, steam engines and trains those factories produced.”

“Which brings us to the third of our fundamental questions:”

“If capitalism has turned into a monster devoid of self-control, has it, like its predecessors, also spawned a more effectual successor which many capitalists are having to nurture in order to reproduce their own social existence?”

“Once that question has been posed, the answer screams for recognition.”

“Remaining competitive is obviously forcing capitalists to construct an integrated global community in which everyone is a potential buyer and seller of goods and labor, and cost is the only thing determining who buys or sells what to whom.”

“When capitalists took that Natural and Necessary step they opened a can of worms.”

“Or, more descriptively, they entered a den of snakes.”

“The integrated global community which capitalists are defensively building can only be made to function with increasingly sophisticated high-technological devices: Global Positioning Systems (GPS), robotic machinery, computers, the internet, broadband, bluetooth, etc..”

“As the computer and the internet are already demonstrating, though an indispensible tool  for capitalism, high-technology is also a revolutionary threat, because living and working in the high-technology world aborning will require that people take full and free control of their lives, and, it will require that they share.”

“The high-techies who write capitalism’s most complex software programs use an ‘open source software’ called Linux. ‘Open source software projects,’ writes Steven Johnson, ‘tilt heavily in the direction of freedom: No one owns the underlying code behind Linux, thousands have contributed to it’, and ‘the software grows more sophisticated over time.’”

“The very ‘ethos’ of this high-tech community, Johnson continues, ‘has a strong communitarian tradition that encourages contributions which are rewarded only by the respect of one’s peers.’  ‘/M/odern software applications are modular enough to be built by committee, with thousands of dispersed participants chipping in their ideas; and, because the code base is openly shared with anyone interested in looking at it—unlike Microsoft’s hidden Windows source code—interesting new ideas “spread freely from one to another over the globe”’.”

“The high-technology world of freedom, participation and sharing Johnson depicts doesn’t just touch some people’s lives. Everyone’s becoming immersed in it, and the reproduction of everyone’s social existence increasingly depends upon its continued evolution.”

“As a consequence, the open source egalitarian virus is spreading like a virulent flu.”

“In 1999, Shawn Fanning helped lay the foundation of the post-capitalist order when he founded Napster. Fanning’s objective was to enable anyone with a computer and a little high-tech savvy to download and distribute music freely. Though the original Napster was quickly sued into oblivion, other ‘peer-to-peer’ (P2P) programs just as quickly replaced it: iMesh, Morpheus, Limewire, BearShare and Kazaa.”

“Morpheus’ website contains a disclaimer: ‘Using Morpheus for the uploading or downloading of copyrighted works without the permission or authorization of the copyright holders may be illegal and could subject you (or the ISP subscriber) to civil and/or criminal liability and penalties.’”

The disclaimer is a tacit recognition many users are going to do precisely what it cautions against; namely, freely download and exchange music, movies and other copyrighted files.”

“Besides circumventing the film and music conglomerates which previously exercised unchallenged and highly profitable control over their industries, P2P groups are also undertaking a significant reduction in the corporate advertising to which subscribers are subjected.”

“Then, there’s ‘Wikipedia,’ a ‘people’s encyclopedia’ freely written and modified by any person who has access to the internet and interest in a given subject.”

“Wikipedia’s relativistic truths are determined not by voices of authority’ or individuals with vested interests. What determines whether a given Wikipedian truth will stand, and for how long, is the amount of material evidence and syllogistic reasoning its defenders can provide the world in its support.”

“The website YouTube allows anyone, anywhere, to freely share their camcorder clips with the global community, permitting each individual viewer, not a corporation, to determine what is sad, humorous, or politically important..”

Founded in 2003, MySpace enables users to connect with people in other cities, states, countries, who have similar interests, and to freely exchange pictures, music, etc. MySpace now has over 300 million users.  FaceBook, also free, performs the same essential functions, has approximately 60 million users, and is rapidly growing.”

“With thousands of Left, Right and Liberal websites/blogs available, internet users can circumvent the national/international news presented by major media, getting news representing the experiences and interests of the people making the news directly, rather than news interpreted by corporate executives, or political representatives of the elite, individuals who have their own sharp axes to grind.”

“As a result, the viewership of corporate-controlled evening news programs has, as one observer phrased it, ‘fallen like a rock.’”

“CBS Evening News had 19 million viewers in 1980, 7 million in 2006.  During the same period NBC’s Evening News viewership dropped from 17.2 million to 8 million; ABC’s from 15.9 million to 8.25.”

“To make up for a consequent loss in advertising revenue, the media increased the number of ads viewers must endure, driving more people from the TV to the computer.  Aware those still watching TV tend to be older, the media run more ads for drugs to ease/remedy every conceivable illness—real or imagined—suffered by the aged, turning additional younger, healthier viewers away.”

“Through Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, and other internet search engines, computer users are moving in the direction of becoming their own doctors, psychologists, washing machine repairmen, lawyers, etc..  Free or low-cost professional and non-professional advice and assistance is readily available on nearly every subject.  Internet users can also purchase every kind of goods on line, including prescription drugs.”

“Robert Scheer has noted even rabbis, ministers and priests find their lives are being transformed by the high-technology crusade.  ‘The open source programming movement which harnesses the wisdom of crowds to collectively make a better product has grown beyond its software roots to embrace religion,’ Scheer writes.  ‘The holy texts of “yoism” shun the wisdom of high priests and rely instead on teachings that evolve online organically.’ I.e., people are creating their own philosophical perspectives.”

“In 2006, musician Bob Ostertag posted all of his recordings on the Web where they can be downloaded free.  Ostertag’s explanation for doing it is worth citing at some length:”

“’When record companies first appeared, . . . making and selling records was a major undertaking. . . . Making recorded music available to the general public required a significant outlay of capital, which in turn required a legal structure that would provide a return on the required investment.  The contrast with the World Wide Web today could not be more striking. . . . Putting 28 years of recordings up on my Website for free download was a simple procedure involving a few hours of effort, yet resulting in instant, free, world-wide distribution.  It makes no difference if 10 people download a song or 10,000, or if they live on my block or in Kuala Lumpur: it all happens at no cost to either them or me other than access to a computer and an Internet connection.  Recording companies used to provide you with the tools you needed to hear recorded music.  Now they charge you for permission to use tools you already have, that they did not provide . . . /W/hat they are doing is imposing a “listening tax.’”

“To the argument that musicians who do this lose financially, Ostertag replies: ‘Most records, in fact, produce good money for corporations and little or none for the musicians.  This is because the recording studios and engineers, art departments, advertising departments, A&R departments, legal departments, limo services, tour agencies, caterers, and distribution networks swallow up the sales revenue. . . . Records that sell tens-of-thousands don’t “break even” not because no money comes in, but because all the money goes to keeping the corporation in the black.  At the top of the chain sit a tiny handful of media giants: Time Warner, Disney, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, Viacom and General Electric. . . . There is now a very simple alternative, which is to simply post your music on the web.  No, you won’t make any money from it, but the odds are overwhelming you would never make any money from it anyway if you charged for it.’”

“As with music, so too, with writing. Using websites like ’Database of Online Authors,’ anyone can freely read or post ‘fiction, fantasy and horror’ stories.”

“The list of things inviting Americans to enter a post-capitalist egalitarian world is long and rapidly growing:”

“There’s Skype, which allows users to make free phone calls via the internet.”

“GPS devices that make it possible for property owners to do their own surveying.”

‘Adopt-a-Highway’ programs encouraging people to assume personal responsibility for keeping roadways clean.”

Neighborhood Crime Watch programs.”

American Idol, and other call-in TV voting schemes.”

“TV news programs, which urge viewers to submit their camcorder tapes of auto accidents, plane crashes, robberies and tornadoes.”

“Even the financing of national politicians is going high-tech-egalitarian.  In the fourth quarter of 2007 maverick Republican Ron Paul set a record for internet contributions, receiving $20 million in small donations.  And weeks before being officially declared the Democrat Party’s nominee, Barack Obama’s own egalitarian fund-raising effort had already proven ten-times more effective than that of Paul.”

“‘/T/he outsider candidate is awash in a pile of cash that dwarfs anything the country has ever seen,’ Bob Ostertag observed of Obama, ‘a sum not dreamed of by even the most calous and corrupt insiders of old; over a quarter of a billion dollars so far’.”

“As I noted when discussing the self-scanning check-out counters in large retail stores, capitalists and capitalist industries must themselves promote such system-destroying activities in order to remain competitive.”

“They manufacture the machines Ostertag uses to record his music and distribute it on the web.  They make the equipment used to illegally reproduce CDs and DVDs; they encourage public participation in TV programming, and they created the web which Paul and Obama now give an equalitarian application.”

“There’s another community of individuals in capitalist countries whose self-sustaining activites have been chipping away at the integrity of the capitalist order: the several million members of 100-plus environmental and peace organizations.”

“Like Asian and Mid Eastern ‘terrorist’ leaders, most heads of large environmental and peace groups, as well as those who oversee the huge charitable foundations that fund them, are children of their nations’ elites.”

“Like the ‘terrorists,’ in order to protect their social existences they struggle to make changes which their countries’ capitalist productive-distributive systems cannot accommodate!”

“Unlike the terrorists.’ they’re urging progressive, species-protective, changes; whereas, the social existence of the terrorists’ is most effortlessly sustained by building rigidly defined feudal productive structures.”

“’Theoretically,’ of course, the U.S. could stop creating ‘terrorists’ by destroying the lives and health of Third World peoples, working with them to build a liveable world instead.”

“’Theoretically,’ it could create and install vast pollution-removing and pollution-controlling systems to restore its streams, lakes and rivers to health.”

“’Theoretically,’ the U.S. could solve its energy and traffic-congestion problems by financing construction of wind mills and the installation of solar panels on private homes; by removing hydrogen from sea water to use as fuel; and, by building grids of high-speed, magnetically  levitated, trains.”

“’Theoretically,’ it could obtain ample wood, and protect against the fires which ravage its national forests every year, by pruning the forests, using helicopters to remove the trees, rather than environmentally destructive roads; and by pressure-treating lumber with polyurathane so that it would last for hundreds of years.”

“Unfortunately, doing such things would leave no money for profit.  They are egalitarian post-capitalist designs.  And it’s rank dishonesty even to suggest them without discussing their system-breaking implications.”

“Until its capitalist productive-distributive order is dismantled and replaced, I submit the future of the U.S. is clear:”

“To keep its economy functioning will require ripping the tops off more mountains for coal; drilling for oil in environmentally destructive places; building additional life-threatening nuclear power plants; clear-cutting additional millions of acres of national forests; worsening pollution of planet earth’s oceans, lakes, rivers and streams, and poisoning more of its people.”

“It will also necessitate spending additional trillions of dollars (mostly borrowed from China and the Middle East) on weaponry; which, in turn, will make the existence of a large and continually growing enemy imperative.”

“Which brings me to the last of our fundamental questions: ‘Have some capitalists therefore begun self-protectively moving in the direction of an oppressive ‘good-versus-evil’, defense of their troubled order?’”

“Let me answer with a few quotations which describe where you Americans are at rather precisely:”

“’The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive of May, 2007,’ ‘would place all governmental power in the hands of the president and effectively abolish the checks and balances in the Constitution,’ writes Marjorie Cohn.”

“’Anyone can now be imprisoned indefinitely without charges and denied any judicial review,’ adds Jim Hightower.”

“The government can ‘monitor your phone calls, read your email and open your snail mail,’ observes Matthew Rothschild.  ‘Law enforcement officers can bust into your home when you’re not there, riffle through your belongings, plant a recording device on your computer, and leave without notifying you for thirty days—maybe a lot more. . . . Even if you are a citizen, the government can label you an enemy combatant.’”

“In October 2007 ‘The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevent Act’ (HR1955), was passed by Congress virtually unopposed (404 to 6).”

“HR 1955’s aim is to suppress what it defines as ‘self-radicalized, unaffiliated domestic terrorists.’”

“We know who they are,  writes Paul Craig Roberts:”

“’We’re beginning to see who will be the inmates of the detention centers being built in the U.S. by Halliburton under government contract. . . . The answer is civil libertarians, critics of Israel, 9/11 skeptics, critics of the administration’s wars and foreign policies, critics of the administration’s use of kidnapping, rendition, torture and violation of the Geneva Conventions, and critics of the administration’s spying on Americans.”

“Alas, explain neocons David Frum and Richard Perle: ‘There /really/ is no middle way for Americans: it is victory or holocaust . . . the terrorist threat is menacing our well-being as a people, even our survival as a nation. . . . If ever there were a war of self-defense, the war on terror is that war.’”

With that, Marx suddenly swept up his notes and and books and returned to his seat.  Although he ended his initial statement on a very cynical note, the expression on his face continued to suggest optimism.  Obviously, the old man would have a lot more to say.

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Machiavelli and Marx Debate – I

The Iraq War

October 10th, 2007 – The Initial Confrontation

Chronicled by Theosophus

“Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after the process of grotesque self- deception.” Mark Twain

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”                      Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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As the reader may have surmised, the widely discussed Niccolo Machiavelli/Karl Marx debate recorded here was arranged for a variety of reasons.  Although Marx formulated his unique thesis one-and-a-half centuries ago, and nearly five centuries have passed since Machiavelli penned Discourses and The Prince, the two men continue to represent the extremes of the political spectrum.

Opponents of the Bush Administration repeatedly depicted its neoconservative operatives as (usually bumbling) Machiavellians. In 2002, a year before our shock and awe offensive against Iraq, John Dilulio, former Director of the government’s Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, called the Bush logicians “Mayberry Machiavellis.” In a Los Angeles Times article of October 2004, Neal Gabler observed: “Roveism begins . . . with Machiavelli’s rule of force”; and Firmin DeBrabander titled his June 2007 Counter-Punch essay “Inept Machiavellians: How the Neocons Misread Machiavelli.”  Liberal bloggers have often used the same appellation when describing neocons. Paul Labarique labelled former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld “a pupil of Machiavelli.” Bob Burnett referred to “the Machiavellian policies orchestrated by Karl Rove.” And Jay Allen reflected: “I could write for days, weeks and years about our Machiavellian foreign policy and how it has created every ill that now afflicts us.”

Conversely, from Sean Hannity, to Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, the neocons’ defenders have accused liberal critics of the Iraq War, the illegal wiretapping of Americans, and the Department of Homeland Security, of embracing Marx’s relativistic philosophy regarding good and evil, reality and truth.  “It’s difficult for liberals to see moral questions clearly,” Hannity urges, since “most of them are moral relativists” who “reject absolute standards of right and wrong.”

Coulter agrees, arguing liberals consider truth “an irrelevant category,” just “another hateful bourgeois institution.” “There is no such thing as ‘the truth’” for leftists Coulter writes. “There is only that which serves your purpose and that which doesn’t.”  “The left’s treasonous scheme” she concludes, is “to destroy America from the inside with their relentless attacks on morality and truth.”

O’Reilly goes even further, contending the left’s moral relativism has “wreaked havoc” in Europe, and “continues to act as a mirror and an echo chamber for the dark mood that has fallen over the West.”  “Our morality,” Limbaugh says in distinguishing conservatives, “emanates from our Divine Creator, whose laws are not subject to amendment, modification, or recission by man”.

Finally, anyone who has studied the writings of Machiavelli and Marx is aware their ideas have been consistently misrepresented. Under the circumstances, asking these famous/infamous theorists to debate seemed a common sense thing to do.   

Reaching accord on the debate’s format proved surprisingly easy.  The two theorists readily agreed to an initial meeting of four hours.  They further agreed that if either of them wanted a second debate it would occur within a year.  Each debater was given 30 minutes for an opening statement and allowed two 15-minute rebutals during the second hour.  Both were asked to nominate a sympathetic witness to make critical comments and pose critical questions during the third hour.  The two nominees then elected a centrist to join them in that effort.  The fourth and final hour was reserved for audience comments and questions.  Machiavelli chose a Fox News political commentator to be his congenial critic, while Marx selected the host of “Democracy Now.” The centrist they picked was a CNN political observer.

When Marx lost the coin toss, Machiavelli strode to the podium and, a Cheneyesque smirk-smile on his face and half a millennium of confidence and conviction in his voice, began to address the hushed audience.

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Machiavelli: “Let me thank all of you for being here.  In particular, I want to thank the American Philosophical Society for arranging the debate.  I’ve been waiting a long while for such an occasion and suffered a lot of undeserved animosity and vilification as I waited.”

“I intend to accomplish two things this evening: prove to you that your neocon leaders are faithful to my philosophy; and, more importantly, convince you that under their direction the U.S. will  win, not only  in Iraq, but throughout the Middle East.”

“If you’re honest, as I speak you’ll begin to realize I’m not merely describing individuals whom many of you regard as adversaries.  I’m also holding up a mirror and asking you to look at your own face.”

“By the time I’ve finished, again, if you’re honest,” (Machiavelli’s gaze swept the Fox News contingent seated in the second row), “you’ll understand we have a lot more in common than you’ve heretofore acknowledged, even to yourselves.”

“Now to the subject at hand.”

“My opponent has described himself as a ‘materialist;’ a ‘realist’ whose only concern is with what he calls the ‘natural necessity’ of historical conditions and events.”

“I will demonstrate Dr. Marx is nothing of the sort.  To the contrary, he’s an idealist who’s dangerously preoccupied with the unachievable world of his longing.  Marx once confessed his impractical idealism in an aphorism still popular with Leftists: ‘Philosophers have only described the world in various ways,’ he observed, ‘the point is to change it.’”

“In a review of James Burnham’s book, The Machiavellians, Paul Mattick described my own, genuinely objectivist, position succinctly.  ‘A true Machiavellian,’ he wrote, ‘separates scientific questions concerning the truth about society from moral disputes over what type of society is most desirable.’”

“Let me begin, then, by describing the real material world for you; by which I mean the world of our experience, your experience as well as my own.” 

“In the real world of our shared experience, people come together to think and act as citizens of nation-states.”

“Having done so, in the real world they create and revere iconic symbols of their nations: flags, anthems, military uniforms, sports contests, even flowers, birds and beasts.  If you can think of an exception to this universal practice, I invite you to point it out right now.”


“Why do people behave this way?  Again, our experience provides the answer.  Only by joining together in national communities, which they give allegiance and fight to protect, are they able to acquire physical, emotional and psychological security, find employment, build homes, feed and clothe their children, and raise them to share the values they hold dear.”

“From this it follows that the foremost objective of a nation’s leader, whether president, prime minister or prince, must be the preservation of the state upon which the lives and the well-being of his people depend.”

“Unfortunately, in the real world there are times when preserving a nation-state requires its leader to order the conquering of other territories, other nations, other peoples.”

“In other words, in the real world, war, with its attendent brutality and oppression, is sometimes imperative if a leader would succeed in defending his state.”

“Put bluntly, at times war becomes a necessity, and, to quote from my brief essay The Prince: ‘War is just when it is necessary; arms are permissible when there is no hope except in arms.’”

“History is drunk with examples:”

“Having insufficient fertile land for its growing population to own as nobles and work as peasants, 15th century Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella preserved their state by ordering the violent conquest of New World regions: Hispaniola, Jamaica, Dominica, the Bahamas, Trinidad, Panama, the Virgin Islands, Honduras, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Peru.”

“Nineteenth century England’s leaders used a combination of economic incentive and  bloody conquest to obtain the raw materials and markets needed to hold their industrializing state together.  By 1917 one-quarter of the world’s people were under British dominion.”

“Only fifty years after its revolutionary birth, a rapid growth in population made the acquisition of more land critical for the United States, particularly for the sons of small farmers.  To preserve their young nation-state, presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin van Buren thereupon authorized the expropriation of Native Americans.”

“In 1830 Congress passed The Indian Removal Act. Although the act got tied up in  court, under president Jackson’s wise direction the forcible seizure of Indian land was accelerated anyway.”

“By 1838, 16,000-20,000 Cherokees were the only large Indian community remaining in the East.  Basing his decision on a fraudulent 1835 treaty, President van Buren ordered their removal to Oklahoma.”

“Leading a militia of 7,000 men, General Winfield Scott oversaw the Cherokees’ 1,200 mile forced march to their new home.  Shoeless and starving, many of them old and ill,  four thousand Cherokees, roughly one-quarter of their number, died along the way.  Although a kind man, Jackson understood the necessity for this cruel undertaking. ‘Humanity weeps over the fate of the Indians,’ he consoled, ‘but true philanthropy reconciles the mind to the extinction of one generation for another.’”

“Ninety years later, as the international economy entered The Great Depression, being the wealthiest and most productive industrial nation, the U.S. found it could survive by outcompeting its rivals.  Japan was soon being driven from China and other Asian markets, while Germany suffered the same fate in Eastern Europe.  In the early 1930’s Germany’s economy, which had never recovered from WWI,  collapsed.”

“Ordering the stimulation of their nations’ economies with large-scale military spending, the leaders of Germany and Japan predictably chose to employ force so that their states might endure.  Japan occupied Manchuria in 1931.  In 1939 Germany invaded Poland.  Early the following year Germany conquered Norway and France, and in mid-1941 it declared war on the Soviet Union.”

“By the latter date the war in Europe was dealing a fatal blow to Japan’s economy.  In July 1941 a Japanese Cabinet Planning Board reported the war was: ‘preventing the importation of machinery from Germany and Italy, or from Switzerland through Germany or Italy, which is vitally necessary for the production of strategic materials.’ Like Germany before it, Japan was going down for the count.”

“Forced to choose between accepting a destruction of the state or fighting, Japan’s leaders undertook an accelerated preparation for war against the U.S.; the competitor whose defensive economic policies were having such a disastrous effect.  On December 7th, 1941 General Hideki Tojo and Emperor Hirohito directed the ‘infamous’ attack on Pearl Harbor.”

“Nothing I’ve said should be interpreted as a defense of Japan and Germany respecting the global conflict that ensued. To identify the material reasons for a nation’s resort to violence is very different from giving it support, just as identifying the material origins of an earthquake is different from embracing its devastation.”

“Unlike Dr. Marx, being an objectivist, I limit my analyses to explaining what’s happening and the material reasons why.”

That said, however, as I made clear in my Discourses on Livy, I believe in the greater efficacy of democracy.  Since the United States was more democratic than either Japan or Germany, if forced to take sides during WWII, I would have backed the U.S.”

“Now, to believe in democracy means believing leaders must have the backing of their populations. It has always been my position that any leader who fails to gain popular support can not long survive.”

“However, at times like those I’ve described, leaders confront a dilemma:”

“In order to protect their people they must defend the state.  To defend the state they must make war.  To make war successfully, they must have their people’s acquiescence, if  possible, their enthusiastic cooperation.”

“The problem is that making war involves slaughtering and subjugating other humans, actions which are universally considered evil.  It is to our species’ credit that the people of every nation resist seeing themselves as murderers and oppressors.”

“In order to gain sufficient popular support for, or at least submission to, those necessary evils, wartime leaders therefore inevitably find that they must lie.”

“When ordering an attack upon another nation, they must lie to defend their country’s reputation; lie to get assistance from allies; lie to delude their victims, as occurred with the Cherokees.  No less important, they must lie to soothe the collective conscience of their citizenry. Unless they lie, the forcible domination of another state, another people, cannot possibly succeed.”

“Fortunately, whenever the preservation of the state upon which their lives and fortunes depend is at stake, people universally insist upon being provided the requisite protective deceptions.”

“The Americans who settled the West during the 19th century welcomed the justifying lies told about ‘savage and bloodthirsty Indians;’ the Indians they were exterminating as they found it necessary to seize their land.”

“When the Great Depression devastated the world economy in the 1930s, most Russians embraced Stalin’s fantastic lies about the country’s ‘pro-capitalist traitors’; lies which vindicated holding the Soviet state together by killing 7 to 10 million people and enslaving an even greater number of others.”

“During WWII, only a tiny, and pragmatically silent, minority of Germans rejected Hitler’s utilitarian lie that they were fighting ‘a Jewish-Communist conspiracy to take over the world.’”

“To give a final, and, for most of you a more personal, example: Throughout the 90-years since the Russian Revolution, most Americans have reflexively imbibed the remarkable story that the Soviet Union, and subsequently China, posed ‘a socialist-communist threat’ to their way of life; a lie no less preposterous than that told by the Spanish inquisitionists who tortured Jews in the name of Christ.”

“At the time Dr. Marx was writing everyone, including his detractors, understood Socialism to mean an equalization of basic income, Communism the more tender-hearted –‘to-each-according-to-his-need’ division of a nation’s wealth.”

“As our common experience loudly tells us, where apportioning their nations’ wealth is concerned neither Russia, nor China has ever been one whit more socialist, let alone communist, than any other country, including the United States.”

“Surely the international correspondents among you have felt the irony of filing reports in which you referred to ‘Communist China;’ a country which Forbes notes now has 10 billionaires, 400 businessmen with personal wealth exceeding $100 million, and many thousands of mere millionaires; while an army of indigent Chinese roams the streets of major cities, homeless and hungry.”

“On the other hand, it’s equally obvious that the incessant lies about a ‘communist menace’ were critical for rationalizing a military defense of threatened U.S. industries and investments in Asia, Africa, Central and South America, thereby securing the United States and stabilizing its people lives.  Which, of course, is why all but a few Americans embraced the artifice involved.”

“While it’s frequently essential that political leaders lie to others, as my student, philosopher Leo Strauss, observed, particularly in wartime, it’s no less crucial that they do not begin to deceive themselves.”

“A wartime leader must remain focused on the exclusive objective and associated truth for which he is directing mayhem and telling his lies.”

“Political leaders, like the rest of us, always lie in the service of what are for them more fundamental realities and objectives.”

When a terminally ill friend inquires How do I look today?’ and you reply: ‘You’re looking very healthy!’, you lie to mask your personal truth and objective that, although he looks terrible and probably doesn’t have long to live, you want him to feel hopeful, and it would therefore be cruel to tell him how sick he really appears.”

“The wartime political leader’s objective which he lies to defend?  I’ve already told you: A preservation of his state!  His associated truth?  That objective material understanding which, if  he can get his people to act upon it through deception, will result in the state’s preservation.”

“Whenever evil must be done to preserve the state, an unspoken agreement is made between a leader and his people.  He will lie to procure their support; which requires protecting them from assuming responsibility for the evil.”

“On their parts, the people will either accept the leader’s lies as fact, or, in the case of  individuals who are less well served by the state’s evil acts, they will busy themselves with nitpicking demonstrations that particular lies are falacious.”

However, so long as the state, and therefore their lives and livelihoods, are being preserved, our shared experience tells us they will refrain from seeking the material reasons for the evil being done. That is, they will not attempt to discover and disclose, the leader’s personal truth; the unique objective vision which is determining his actions and prompting him to deceive.”

“Perhaps the most compelling evidence that the people of every nation prefer comforting fiction to disturbing truth is the universal reluctance to relinquish what were initially pragmatic lies long after their utility has been exhausted.”

“The majority of Japanese have yet to confront the brutality of their country’s attack on Nanking in December 1937. Two-hundred-thousand Chinese were killed, many machine-gunned in the street.  Women were ‘nailed alive’ to walls, their breasts cut off and their stomachs ripped open.  Japanese Doctor Hakudo Nagatomi told of witnessing babies being ‘impaled on bayonets and tossed alive into pots of boiling water.’”

“Turkey still adamantly refuses to acknowledge that after its Ottoman Empire holdings were lost in WWI, it maintained itself by massacring one and a half million Armenians, seizing their properties in order to survive.”

“Very few Russians have accepted the breathtaking slaughter of Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Estonians and Latvians which the Soviet Union carried out to preserve its existence during the depression-ridden 1930s and 40s.”

“Thirty-two years after the Vietnam War ended, most Americans continue to avoid the simple reality that their nation pragmatically defined poor, ignorant and uneducated Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian peasants as ‘communists,’ then butchered over three million of them, using every weapon at its disposal, rifles, bombs, napalm, cluster bombs, 50-caliber machine guns and grenades.”

But is it really necessary for me to defend this obvious point?  Robert Stinnett’s book, Day of Deceit, was published in 2000. Using the U.S. government’s official records, Stinnett documented what Admiral Robert Theobald, Pulitzer Prize winning author John Toland and others had convincingly argued two decades before.  President Roosevelt and members of his cabinet not only knew Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was impending, they worked to insure that it happened, convinced it would unify the public behind what they rightly considered an inevitable war.  Yet today the majority of Americans continue to talk of Japan’s ‘surprise attack,‘ dismissing as ‘conspiracy kooks,’ those who express the material truth.”

(Machiavelli paused, then observed:)

“It’s clear from your facial expressions that many of you find my arguments distasteful.”

“One of the most painful criticisms I’ve had to endure is that I advocate immorality and evil.”

“To the contrary, I’ve always insisted the practice of evil should be no greater in dimension and duration than a preservation of the state requires.  Lying, killing and related evils are for me strictly means, never ends. Unfortunately, they are sometimes the only means by which  the state’s perpetuation and its’ people’s lives can be secured.”

“In the hope that you won’t misunderstand my position, let me be precise:  If a conquered elite’s hegemonic way of life can be continued, that should always be done, and they will thereafter reward the conquerors by helping to keep the masses subdued.  If the elites’ favored status can not be sustained, one and all of them must be killed, for they will never cease plotting a violent restitution of their former authority and rank.”

“If a subjugated population’s way of life can be sustained, the velvet glove should always be used in their governance, since they will present no tangible threat.  If their way of life can not be maintained, they must either be destroyed or driven from the region, because it will not be possible to control them.”

(Machiavelli paused again.)

“Do you still find my words disturbing?  Then ask yourself this question: Should the state be dismantled and its citizenry allowed to suffer socio-economic devastation if the alternative is employing violence and deceit?  If you answer ‘yes,’ please take another look at the real world. You’ll discover when people make that argument they almost always have some other state in mind, rather than their own.”

“To repeat the central tenets of my thesis: Preserving the state upon which his people depend for their physical, economic and social existence must be a leader’s foremost objective.”

“Realizing that objective sometimes necessitates making war on another nation.”

“For all the reasons I’ve enumerated, getting his people to support a war invariably requires a leader to dissemble and deceive.”

“That said, there are two more things a leader must do at such pivotal moments if he would succeed in defending his state.” 

“Based upon a clear-headed understanding of the material necessity for initiating a war and the war’s specific objectives, the leader must formulate a strategic plan.”

“Having done so, he must then micromanage events in order to bring his plan to fruition.”

“What makes a micromanaged strategy vital whenever a leader takes his state from peace to war?  This is another question you can give an objective material answer if you examine your own behavior.”

“Your family has no need for a micromanaged plan when following its normal routine.  However, any sharp break with that routine, such as a camping trip, immediately makes it essential.”

“You will need to plan your destination, date of departure, method of travel and length of stay; and numerous aspects of the trip will have to be micromanaged in order for it to be a success.”

“If you determine to go by car, someone must assess its’ mechanical condition. You will have to decide who’s going to do the driving; the approximate amount of fuel and food needed; who will prepare the food; the kind and quantity of clothing required; along with responsibility for a host of other matters, like tents, bicycles, fishing licenses and equip-ment, perhaps arranging for friends or relatives to be visited along the way.”

“So it is when a state’s leader determines to take his people to war.  Except that, where lies aren’t normally required for a camping trip, as the genuinely candid among you are well aware, they’re an integral feature of  every nation’s resort to war.”

“Which brings us, finally, to the U.S. war in Iraq.”

“I’ll begin this part of my discussion by asking the critical material question that has, to date, received a hundred-and-one immaterial answers:  ‘Why did Vice President Dick Cheney and the other neo-con leaders’ decide to invade Iraq?’”

“In order to give an objective, answer to this question, we must consider both the United States’ material condition at the time, and the material situation in which it found itself.”

“First, the U.S.’ material condition subsequent to World War II:”

“Faced with brutal competition from Japan and other industrialized nations which enjoyed significantly lower labor costs, by the late 1960’s major U.S. corporations were in serious trouble.”

“The two leading auto manufacturers initially tried to weather the challenge by cybernating production, then, by making cars of low cost and, consequently, low quality.  In 1971 Ford Motors introduced the Pinto, General Motors the Chevy Vega.”

“But GM and Ford were soon made to understand that producing cars of inferior quality would not enable them to hang on very long.”

“How bad were the Pinto and the Vega? In April 2000, the internet website Car Talk, used newspaper and radio polls to determine which auto Americans considered the ‘Worst car of the millennium.’ Based on 25,000 responses received, Car Talk rated the Pinto ‘Third Worst,’ the Vega ‘Second Worst.’ Only the Yugo beat them out to take ‘First Place.’”

“With no alternative remaining if they wished to stay competitive, General Motors and Ford then began outsourcing large parts of their manufacturing operations to low wage countries.”

“U.S. manufacturers of nearly every product, power tools, furniture, canned food, skis, clothing, radios and TVs, were soon reluctantly taking the same path.”

“Dr. Marx and his disciples would have us believe capitalists are driven by an insatiable lust for increased profit.”

“Business economists, on the other hand, consider it axiomatic that corporations hesitate to move their operations abroad until the rising tide of competition is threatening to drown them.  The activities of General Motors, Ford, Levi’s Jeans, DeWalt and Milwaukee Power Tools, Thomas McCann Shoes, IBM, Dell Computers, Hershey’s Chocolate and hundreds of other companies have objectively verified that proposition.”

“While the outsourcing of manufacture meant millions of American workers were losing their jobs, a consequent devastation of the U.S. economy was prevented by the high technology revolution which occurred during the 1980s and 90s.  The birth of the internet and an on-line global market, along with the application of digitalized information to everything from experimental science, to education, medicine, audio communication and movie-making, quite literally saved the day.”

“Dozens of high-tech companies sprung into existence.  Lavishly funded by venture capitalists, many were soon included in  Fortune 500’s list of most profitable corporations.”

“The computer-savvy entrepreneurs who founded the high tech industries often became multi-millionaires almost overnight, as did investors in their novel operations.”

“In the late 1990s, the high tech revolution gave birth to the dot-com phenomenon: thousands of internet web sites offering products and advice of every imaginable kind, health, charity, the environment, pets, politics, education, finance, jewelry, travel, book publishing, furniture making and home restoration, etc.”

“Venture capitalists and investors again provided hundreds-of-billions of dollars for these remarkable operations; and, again, sudden fortunes were made.”

“The rising dot-com sea was soon lifting millions of low-tech boats, creating new jobs and expanding old ones. Stock values in general increased significantly, as the newly rich and the comfortable purchased an ever-increasing number and quantity of goods and services.”

“Fitness centers opened in towns and cities across the country.  Occupations like ‘personal trainer,’ ‘landscape artist,’ ‘interior decorator,’ ‘massage therapist’ and ‘herbal medicine specialist’ acquired new respect and wider application.  Bike shops and boat yards, manufacturers, sellers and repairmen of ATVs and trailers, restaurants, coffee shops and jewelery stores, travel agents and luxury-liner operators, orthodontists and cosmetic dentists, mini-storage owners, makers and installers of pools, spas and home theaters, one and all profitted from the surge of wealth.  In large cities, three, four and five thousand square feet homes became common place.”

“For most Americans, life was good.”

“Then, in the spring of 2000, the dot-com bubble began to burst.  By July 2002 more than 850 dot-com companies had gone under, rendering their stocks virtually worthless.  When the calamity ended, the stock market losses amounted to an estimated seven trillion dollars, probably more.”

“You heard me correctly. Not seven million dollars.  Not seven billion.  Seven trillion!”

“While most of the failed dot-com corporations were American, some were European, and there was considerable French, German, Swiss, etc. investment in the U.S. dot-coms. So, those countries also felt the blow, resulting in increased economic competition between Europe and the U.S..”

“But I’ve only begun to describe the United States’ troubled situation as the 21st century opened.”

“With the collapse of the dot-coms, the growth rate of the U.S. economy plummeted from 3.7% in 2,000 to 0.8% in 2001.  In 2002, it was still a modest 1.6%.”

“Meanwhile, the annual growth rate of China’s industrializing economy had risen from 8.3% in 2001 to 9.1% in 2002.  India’s economy was also growing at a rate more than double that of the U.S.:  4.1% in 2001, 4.2% in 2002.”

“Although a phenomenal increase in trade between the U.S., China and India was making the three nations’ economies increasingly interdependent, China and India were beginning to  pose a challenge to the U.S. in many countries; including, in China’s case, those of the Middle East.”

“Which brings me to the United States’ paramount concern in that region; the concern which led it to attack and occupy Iraq, and which, if your country’s leaders continue to act defensively, may lead it to saturation bomb numerous targets in Iran.”

That paramount concern?  You know as well as I do: “OIL!”

“In case you haven’t noticed, the economy of every industrialized nation floats on oil.”

“A majority of the things industrial countries make, use, or sell, are at least partially made from oil derivatives: tooth brushes, soaps and soap dishes, clothing, telephones, furniture, fertilizers, cosmetics, lacquers, television cases and park benches.”

“Homes are heated with it, and cars, trains, ships and planes are wholly dependent upon its availability at a moderate price.”

“The pool of oil-guzzling industrial nations is also growing, and the two most competitive industrializing countries, India and China, are huge and hungry.”

“‘China’s exports soared from $10 billion in 1978 to $278 billion in 2000,’ taking it from the 30th to the ‘sixth largest trading nation in the world.’ With a GDP growth rate that’s sometimes double digit, its thirst for oil is becoming unquenchable. Yet, except for Da Qing, which produces an estimated one million barrels a day, China has no reserves worth consideration.”

“China’s consumption of oil is growing by 7 percent a year.  In the year 2003-04 it shot up 19 percent, and, given the country’s phenomenal growth rate, it may well increase by double digits again.  India’s oil consumption is also increasing by more than 5 percent every year.”

“As you may know, the United States’ per day consumption of oil is 20.7 million barrels; more than Germany, France, Japan, India and China’s combined 19.5 million barrels.”

“The U.S. consumes 26 percent of the world’s oil production, three times more than it produces. And, like China’s, the rate of its oil consumption and importation continues to grow.  During the 1980s the U.S. imported 30 percent of its oil.  Today it imports 70 percent.”

“Unfortunately, while the international competition for oil is becoming daily more aggressive, the amount of oil that’s readily available—we’re still talking material reality here—is in serious decline.”

“There’s been a lot of debate about whether the world’s approaching, is at, or has already passed ‘Peak Oil:’ that critical stage at which half of the easily obtainable oil has been tapped and production begins to decline.”

“Back in 1956, Shell geologist Dr. M. King Hubbert was criticized for predicting peak oil production in the U.S. would occur sometime between 1965 and 1970.  It happened in 1970.  Hubbert’s predicted peak for world production was 2006.”

“No one disputes Hubbert’s fundamental thesis about an impending peak oil crisis any longer.  It’s a matter of quibbling over the specifics of when.”

“Paul Appleby, British Petroleum’s chief economist, believes the world’s oil output will flatten, then, ‘start falling by 2010.’”

“Fredrik Robelius of Sweden, who wrote a doctoral thesis on the subject, thinks world-wide peak oil production will occur between 2008 and 2018.”

“Other, equally informed, observers insist peak oil has already happened.”

“Jim Buckee, who earned a doctorate in astrophysics at Oxford University and now heads the Canadian oil and natural gas company, Talisman Energy, came to that conclusion.”

“After researching the subject, so did oilman T. Boone Pickens, the famous investment tycoon.”

“Princeton Professor Emeritus Dr. Kenneth Deffeyes is very specific, proposing the peak in world oil production occurred on Thanksgiving Day, 2005.”

“The point is, most oil men and scientists agree that while the world isn’t about to run out of oil, it is about to run low; the peak in worldwide production definitely happening before 2020, in all probability before 2015.”

“No less alarming, the impending crisis in oil production has already begun to strike the world’s leading producer, Saudi Arabia.”

“University of California Professor Stuart Staniford, who edits the highly regarded website The Oil Drum, observes: ‘The data is clear . . . Saudi Arabian oil production is in decline.’”

“Already, half the daily output of Ghawar, the world’s largest oil field and Saudi Arabia’s most productive–from which 6.25 per-cent of the world’s oil is pumped–isn’t even oil, it’s water.”  

“To sum, the critical facts about oil production are no longer in dispute:

“The amount being consumed is rising dramatically.”

“The largest, most productive deposits of high-grade, readily extracted oil are in three Middle Eastern countries: Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran.”

“The number of new deposits being discovered is discouragingly small, and none contain the huge amounts of low sulphur oil of fields in the Middle East.”

“At the same time, many of the world’s major oil fields, including those of Saudi Arabia, are showing signs of depletion and becoming increasingly costly to tap.”

“The picture, then, is clear:”

“If the U.S., China, or one or more European state, could put the lock on the remaining Middle Eastern oil, it would be able to dominate the world economy, out-competing other nations, and/or, controlling their production respecting a cornucopia of goods, including agricultural produce and military hardware. ”

“Let’s not be timid about describing the United States’ problematic situation.  If China, or some combination of European industrial countries, acquires a monopoly on Mid East oil, in only a few years’ time it will be able to wreck the U.S. economy, reducing Americans to the poverty and dependence currently suffered by many Third World populations.”

“Given the interdependence of the world’s national economies, would China or Europe ever do such a terrible thing to another country?”

“Under the right circumstances, of course they would!   So would the United States!”

“The Great Depression demonstrated how brutally indifferent to one another’s situations nations become when the very survival of the state is in jeopardy.”

“And the threat of another global depression of the kind that produced World Wars I and II is now with us.”

“Surely, none of you are prepared to argue we have international instiitutions in place which could, and would, prevent it?”

“The United Nations?  Please!”

“Do you doubt that the U.S. faces the imminent challenge I’ve been describing?”

“Then, consider the following:”

“In the spring of 2002, investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill attended the 30th anniversary celebration of the nationalization of Iraq’s oil.  During a subsequent interview, Scahill reported:”

“Mohamed Rashid, Iraq’s oil minister, announced Iraq would ‘begin oil exploration in two of the largest untapped oil and natural gas reserves in the world:’ West Qurna and Majnoon.”

“’These two fields had been allocated to two companies,’ Scahill continued, one of them French, the other Russian.‘ But because of U.S. pressure and U.N. sanctions, the Russians and the French never began drilling’.”

“Tired of waiting for the sanctions’ removal, Rashid declared Iraq had decided to go ahead with the French-Russian explorations, for which each of those countries was committed to investing billions of dollars.”

“Iraq predicted that by tapping the West Qurna and Majnoon fields it would be able to ‘double oil production,’ ‘theoretically surpass/ing/ Saudi Arabia as the number one producer of oil in the world.’”

“Was this mere wishful thinking on Iraq’s part?   Or was it a reasonable assumption?”

“According to the Oil and Gas Journal of March 7, 2005: ‘The oil fields of Iraq are the least depleted and least developed of any of the Persian Gulf oil producing countries, and Iraq has the potential to rapidly increase oil output . . .  Only Iraq has undeveloped super-giant oil fields—West Qurna, Majnoon, and East Baghdad—and the potential to rapidly increase production to 8-10 billion barrels a day.’”

“Scahill concluded: ‘Saudi Arabia has an enormous border with Iraq.  If that border was erased and the U.S. controlled these two countries—the U.S. would control the world oil markets.’”

“In other words, respecting the product most vital for the survival of every industrial nation, the U.S. would then be able to dictate to the rest of the world.”

“I think we can assume Scahill’s conclusion was apparent to American oil company executives, as well as U.S neocon leaders.”

“Nine months after Rashid made his startling declaration, the U.S. ’Shock and Awe’ assault began.”

“Now consider the material threat which China-the-oil-parched-colossus poses in the Middle East.”

“In reviewing that threat I’ll simply rely on world press citations.”

(With a wink at Bill O’Reilly).  “I’ll report. You decide.”

“Last year the Association for Asian Research made the following observation:”

“‘Beijing’s target is to quadruple its economy by 2020, as it did from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s.’ However, in order ‘to achieve this goal . . . China must rely on external energy supplies.’ Where it currently uses ‘6.3 million barrels of oil a day, . . .  the International Energy Bureau projects /its/ consumption will reach a daily level of 10 million barrels within the next two decades or so.’”

“According to The Washington Quarterly: ‘Since 2002, the Middle East has become the leading arena for Beijing’s efforts to secure effective ownership of critical hydrocarbon resources, rather than relying solely on international markets to meet China’s energy import needs.  There is every reason to anticipate that China will continue, even intensify, its emphasis on the Middle East as part of its energy security strategy.’”

“Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, China made two failed attempts to obtain that country’s oil.  It negotiated ‘a 1.3 billion dollar contract with Saddam in 1979 to develop the al-Ahab oil field in Central Iraq, and in 2001 it was in talks about developing the much larger Halfayah field.’  However, like Russia, Germany and France, China was prevented from activating these deals by the UN sanctions’ which the U.S. had secured.”

“From the U.S. standpoint it was ‘check,’ but hardly ‘checkmate.’

“China then began to focus its attention on Iran.”

“The U.S. severed diplomatic relations with Iran in April 1980, following the seizure of 63 American embassy workers the previous year.”

“According to an old adage, ‘political power abhors a vacuum.’ China was soon demonstrating the cogency of that proposition.”

“In the spring of 2002 the BBC disclosed an ‘historic meeting’ between Chinese and Iranian leaders at which they pledged to ‘greatly expand’ their countries’ economic cooperation.”

“And that’s precisely what they did!

“In November 2004: the Washington Post reported China’s energy needs’ had ‘increased nearly 40 percent during the first ten months of the year;’ prompting what Newsmax called ‘an exponential’ growth in that country’s relationship with Iran.”

“The Asia Times noted Beijing and Tehran signed a ‘mega-gas contract worth an estimated $100 billion’ that month.  Heralded as the ‘deal of the century,’ the pact was expected to be followed by an oil agreement worth another $50 to $100 billion.”

“Iran, China Business Weekly enthused, hopes China will ‘soon replace Japan to become its top destination for energy exports.’”

“In January 2005 the New York Times cited an Iran-China Chamber of Commerce claim that, when all the figures were in, trade between China and Iran would be found ‘to have totaled $7 billion in 2004, up from $5.6 billion in 2003.’”

“This fast-growing symbiotic union of the Chinese and Iranian economies has involved China selling Iran ever-larger quantities of manufacture, in addition to buying its natural gas and its oil.”

“In a 2005 release, the Nixon Center explained China and Iran’s ‘increasingly close relationship’ results from ‘Iran’s need for consumer goods to satisfy its young, West-leaning population,’ as well as ‘China’s need for energy to run its growing economy.’”

“The Center quoted Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s former International Atomic Energy Agency representative, who observed China and Iran ‘complement each other,’ saying: ‘The Chinese have the industry and the Iranians have the energy resources.’”

“Arab News noted partnerships between Iranian, South Korean, French and Japanese firms helped make Iran the Middle East’s leading car producer in 2005, with an output totaling ‘nearly one million vehicles.’ China is also reputed to be building an Iranian auto plant for the manufacture of a low-priced model, while the U.S. stands and watches.”

“As forecast by concerned observers around the world, the reciprocal trade between China and Iran is continuing its remarkable rate of growth.” recently called attention to the fact that ‘nearly 250 Chinese firms are /either/ engaged in industrial and construction projects /in Iran/, or, are flooding the Iranian market with low-priced consumer goods.’”

“In April 2006, the Associated Press published reports that China and Iran were ‘close to settling plans to develop Iran’s Yadavaran oil field . . . in a multibillion dollar deal that comes as Tehran faces the prospect of sanctions over its nuclear program.’  That deal is believed ‘to be worth about $100 billion,’ the AP concluded.”

“On August 25, 2007 the Iran Daily quoted Javad Mansouri, Iran’s ambassador to China, who predicted trade between the two countries will reach a phenomenal $18 billion this year.”

“Mansouri cited the ‘vast economic potentials’ of both countries, along with ‘the growing economic, industrial, technical and scientific ties between them,’ as the bases of the increase in trade.”

“Nor are China’s overtures to the Middle East being directed exclusively at Iran.  In November 2003 the United Arab Emirates observed that trade between China and the seven small states which comprise the UAE had grown by 42.8 percent during the first nine months of that year alone.”

“In January 2005 the NYT reported: ‘Trade volume between China and the six rich countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council—the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman—was expected to reach $20 billion in 2004; up from $16.9 billion in 2003,’ according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.”

“No less disturbing from the United States’ and Israel’s perspective, for more than 20 years China has been providing Iran with the latest weaponry, including missiles.”

“In September 2003, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a charity founded by Sam Nunn and Ted Turner, released this pertinent statement:”

“’China’s missile trade and cooperation with Iran has been a subject of substantial proliferation concern in Washington since the 1980’s. China’s missile exports and assistance to Iran have generally fallen into two areas,’ the NTI continued: ‘the provision of anti-ship cruise missiles and related technology, and technical assistance for Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well as some exports of complete ballistic missiles.’”

“In other words, Iran has been rapidly moving toward the point at which it will be able to  defend itself against an attempt by another state to take its oil by force.”

(At this point, Machiavelli suddenly paused for what must have been several minutes. Forgetting he had not yet talked about the war in Iraq, perhaps thinking he had finished his opening statement, a few members of the audience stood and stretched.  Others started quietly conversing.  Then, just as suddenly, Machiavelli resumed speaking. His voice was lower now, and somewhat restrained.  However, it soon became evident his restraint was that of a boxer looking for a weakness in his opponent’s defense in order to throw the decisive punch.)

“If you’ve been following my argument,” Machiavelli began, “you’ll understand I’m not exaggerating when I say that as the 21st century opened the U.S. was approaching a fateful juncture.”

“Fortunately, unlike most Americans, being perceptive Machiavellians, Presi . . . er, Vice President Cheney and his neocon subordinates have been able to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle.”

“The industrial world is heading for a showdown over control of the Middle East’s oil.”

“If China or Europe were to win this struggle, given that international competition for the sale of manufacture is already intense and much of the U.S. productive base is now located abroad, in the event of an international depression it seems virtually certain America would suffer the fate of Germany and Japan in the 1930s.”

“However, the neocon’s have recognized that Western Europe isn’t a serious competitor in the battle for Middle East oil.”

“In comparison with China’s, European economies are only treading water.”

“In addition, Germany and France are able to buy enough oil and natural gas from Russia to keep their homes heated, their cars and factories running.  Besides, eighty percent of France’s electrical needs are being supplied with nuclear power, not oil.”

“Germany and France would doubtlessly like to profit from the acquisition of large quantities of Mid East oil.  But doing so isn’t a dire necessity.”

“For the United States and China it is!

“So, the conflict over control of the Middle East’s oil is between those two states; and whichever one wins will have the final word when it comes to determining the international practice, if an international collapse occurs, even the survival of the other.”

“Due to the economic interdependence of the two countries, the victor will need to consider the interests of the vanquished.  But which state gives, and which receives consideration is going to be of the greatest historical consequence.”

“You Americans are fortunate that several leading neocons are former Trotskyists who once naively supposed that when a country commits to Dr. Marx’s idealist vision it undergoes a utopian transformation.”

“Believing the failure of China and the Soviet Union to construct free, egalitarian and humane socialist systems was of monumental significance, they are now dedicated to protecting the United States as it builds a better world.”

“Irving Kristol, the former Trotskyist who’s variously referred to as the ‘founder’ and the ‘Godfather’ of the neocon movement, expressed these sentiments lucidly, writing:”

“’It is not too much to say that the collapse of the socialist ideal is the most striking event in the history of political thought in this century.  The process of its deflation has been so intermittent—an irregular series of gasps rather than one instantaneous exhalation—that it is not easy for us to grasp its full significance.  Since the death of socialism has not affected our belief in progress, we are tempted to interpret its passing as merely one episode in the interminable education of the human race.’”

“Optimistic, and still devoted to moving the species forward, the neocons grasp the importance of the U.S. winning this struggle.”

“For over two centuries America has symbolized freedom, democracy and economic opportunity to the entire world.”

“China, on the contrary, represents religious repression, thought control, and a heavy-handed social, economic and political manipulation.”

“In the U.S. dissidents are criticized, sometimes ridiculed.  In China they’re imprisoned or shot.”

“Tens-of-millions of people around the globe dream of becoming American citizens. Millions risk injury or arrest every year in order to enter the country illegally, hundreds dying of heat stroke and thirst in the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona.”

“No foreigners dream of moving to China, or jeopardize their lives trying to do it.”

(Looking at the Fox News team intently, Machiavelli then added:)

“Your neocons realize that more than the future of the United States is at stake!  The Western world, whose very way of life, values and traditions the U.S. represents and defends now stands in peril.”

“They recognize it isn’t a question of whether the United States should fight China for control of the Middle East oil. It must! And they are determined that under their guidance it will.”

“However, the neocons also understand that China and the U.S. would both be ill-served by a public acknowledgement of the battle.  Their economies are much too interdependent for that.”

“As an August 2006 Congressional Research Report remarked: ‘The United States is China’s largest overseas market and second largest source of foreign direct investment on a cumulative basis . . .  In 2004, China replaced Germany and the United Kingdom to become the fourth largest market for U.S. goods and remains the fastest growing major U.S. export market.’”

“In addition, only Japan holds a larger portion of the U.S. foreign debt than China: $644 billion and $350 billion respectively.”

“Considerable pressure to restrict these mutually beneficial relations is already exerted by American labor unions, and by small manufacturers whose oxen are being gored.”

“If the U.S.-China conflict over control of Middle East oil were openly declared, that  pressure could become irresistable.”

“The critical question for the neocons in the year 2000, then, was how the U.S. should go about waging this silent, but nonetheless epic, battle: i.e., the appropriate weapon to use.”

“Unlike during the Great Depression, economic competition will not work.”

“Few American-made products can compete with Chinese manufacture here in the U.S. .  They are even less competitive in the Middle East.”

“As economist Robert J. Samuelson recently observed, China doesn’t have ‘universal social security.’  ‘Only 17 percent of its workers have pensions,’ and ‘a mere 14 percent are covered by unemployment insurance.’ Factor in its workers’ low wages, and it’s obvious that China has the upper hand where selling the Middle East manufacture is concerned.”

“Nor can the U.S. compete when it comes to buying the oil.  Given the huge sums of money that must be paid to individuals and institutions who hold oil company stock–and stock in corporations like Bechtel and Haliburton—which are involved with many aspects of drilling, shipping and processing oil—along with the exorbitant salaries of the executives employed by those firms, and it’s clear China’s state-operated companies can afford to be far more generous than U.S. corporations.”

“To sum the United States’ fundamental dilemma: its’ survival, as well as maintenance of its’ dominant world position, requires that it gain unchallenged control of Middle East oil, determining which countries obtain what amounts, and at what price; and, that in doing so, it receives the lion’s share of profit coming from the oil.”

“In November 2002, four months before the U.S. began bombing Iraq, the Canadian investment firm ‘Union Securities Limited’ posted a very terse, but very accurate, description of the problematic situation the neocons confronted, writing:”

“’In 1950 the United States supplied roughly 52 percent of the world’s oil production. Today it has fallen to around 8 percent . . . The Persian Gulf states have about 67 per-cent of the world’s reserves. The U.S., by comparison, only has about 3 percent . . . This makes the Persian Gulf the most important area in the world when it comes to supplying the fuel that the U.S. economy and indeed the rest of the world needs . . .  Iraq has around 10 percent of the world’s reserves, the world’s second largest behind Saudi Arabia.  Iraq is also producing only about 2.5 million barrels per day, well below its potential capacity of around 7 million barrels per day.’ “

“Union Securities then identified the sole instrument with which the U. S. could accomplish what is becoming indispensible for its preservation and the continuation of Western culture: Military force! Pointing to the United States’ enormous international debt, it presciently concluded: ’Money and Oil!   Is it any wonder that the U.S. is anxious to move quickly to subdue Iraq, and possibly Saudi Arabia as well, before things get out of hand?  By all indications it is not a question of will there be a war against Iraq.  It is a question of when.’”

“Beginning in the 1950s, defending it’s Third World interests from expropriation has required the United States to radically increase its production and sale of weaponry.  The arms sales have then helped it compensate for the competitive edge it was losing respecting the sale of manufacture in general.”

“As a consequence, since the 1990s the U.S. has been responsible for approximately 45 percent of all international arms transactions. According to the Congressional Research Service, the value of U.S. arms sales was $18.6 billion for the year 2000 alone.”

“Most of the leading neocons have Defense Department histories: Vice President Richard Cheney served as Secretary of Defense under President H.W. Bush; Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense during both Bush presidencies; Richard Perle was Assistant Secretary of Defense for President Reagan; Paul Wolfowitz served as Deputy Secretary of Defense under G.W. Bush; Eric Edelman is presently the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, and Douglas Feith has held various Defense Department positions.”

“These men know well that no country, least of all China, can match the vast array, or the sophistication, of U.S. weapons systems: Reconnaissance Satellites; B-52 bombers equipped with smart bombs, cluster bombs and bunker-busters; unmanned Predators, able to track a vehicle in near silence, then blow it away with a guided missile; Black Hawk, Apache, Kiowa Warrior and Chinook helicopters, Avenger and Patriot ground-to-air defense systems; Abrams tanks; Bradleys, M88A2 Hercules Armored Vehicles; depleted-uranium-tipped anti-tank missiles; and, if needed, the latest in chemical and biological weaponry, research on which Congress granted the National Institutes of Health $1.76 billion in 2006.”

“On March 19th, 2003, the Bush neocons answered Union Securities’ rhetorical question.  They ordered that the ‘shock and awe’ bombing of Iraq begin; and, to date, they have continued to follow my instructions with ingenuity and brilliance.”

“You will recall my advice to leaders who must take their states to war in order to preserve them: ‘If you are unable to protect the favored status of a subjugated country’s elite, you must destroy them!  Nor will it be sufficient to eliminate the prince’s family,’ I warned.  ‘The aristocrats who remain will make themselves heads of fresh movements against you, and, if you are unable to either satisfy or exterminate them, the conquered nation will be lost whenever time brings the opportunity.’”

“Similarly, ‘if the way of life of the masses can be sustained,’ I counselled, ‘the velvet glove should be used in their governance, since they will present no serious threat.  However, if you are unable to defend their way of life, they must be driven from the region or destroyed, because you will never be able to control them.’”

“In 2003, the neocons understood it would be impossible for the U.S. to preserve the status of the Iraqi majority, whatever their class.”

“The reasons why are hardly a mystery.”

“A June 2003 Congressional Research Report to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations observed that following their seizure of power in 1968, Saddam and the Baathists ‘placed great emphasis on the industrialization of Iraq’s economy.’ As a result, the ‘middle class rose from 28 percent of the country’s urban population in 1958, to 54 percent in 1988.’ Iraq’s total population also grew significantly, ‘from 9.4 million in 1970,’ to ’22.3 million in 2000.’”

“By ‘the late 1980s,’ notes the Congressional Report, ‘the Iraqi middle class was a highly urbanized, secular, well-educated group, consisting mainly of state employees and civil servants who benefitted greatly from the expansion of educational and government employment opportunities, and from the increased levels of government revenue’ coming from the oil nationalization.“

“The ‘Iraqis also had life expectancy and mortality rates comparable to those for Saudi Arabia, Libya and other high income Arab countries.’”

“When the Gulf War began in 1991, ‘Iraq was one of  the more prosperous and advanced countries of the Arab world.’ ‘It was an upper middle income country,’ the Congressional Report reiterates, ‘with a substantial middle class, considerable technical capacity, high (by regional standards) female participation in education and the economy, and relatively high standards overall of education and health care.’”

“Education to the highest university level and cradle-to-grave health care was free for most Iraqis.  Women enjoyed basic equality, drove cars and wore western clothing.  Many were physicians, lawyers, judges, chemists and professors.”

“For more than 35 years Saddam Hussein, a megalomaniac with a Stalinist personality, had entertained dreams of doing what Egypt’s Gamel Abdel Nasser was unable to do: unify the Arab world, then use its vast oil wealth to modernize the Middle East.”

“Saddam recognized that doing so would be no easy task.  Iraq’s population is comprised of a Shia majority, many of whom are among its poorest citizens, a Sunni minority, from which most of the wealthiest Iraqis were drawn, a large Kurdish minority in the north, small rural communities ruled by warlords, and other, numerically insignificant, ethnic or religious populations, including Christians.  With so many divergent groups having divergent interests, the Baathists’ industrialization program inevitably did serious injury to one or another of them at various times, particularly the Shia and the Kurds.”

“Whenever any group dared to engage in disruption, however mild, Saddam used abject torture and terror to drive them back in line.”

“It was evident to the neocons that, having taken control of Iraq, the United States would not be able to cede enough oil money to maintain the cushy life style of its elite body of military officers, businessmen, academics, lawyers, judges, scientists, physicians, politicians and entertainers, or, the comfortable existence of its large middle class.”

“Protecting the United States’ own economy would require that much of the profit be used to remunerate its oil corporation stockholders and executives, along with the heads of American firms like Bechtel and Haliburton, which would need to operate in Iraq in order to maintain the flow of oil and U.S. domination.  They, in turn, would use a portion of their swollen incomes to employ thousands of other Americans in building and maintaining private planes, sail boats, ski lodges, and mansions for them and their families at home.”

“In addition, getting France, Germany, Japan, England and China, to submit to U.S. control of the Middle East’s oil would make it imperative that they be able to buy sufficient amounts of it cheaply enough to keep their own economies running smoothly.  Given the integration of the global economy, the indicated sharing of the take would not be an act of charity.  It would be a necessity if the U.S. was going to continue exporting and importing goods profitably.”

“Even more important is the extravagant cost of the instrument the United States finds it must employ to gain control of the Middle East’s oil.  China has been using the free market approach: ‘We’ll pay top dollar for your oil and natural gas and sell you low-priced manufacture in return,’ it offers; an arrangement which has no attendant expenses.”

“However, military force, the only competitive device available to the U.S., in this instance, is inordinately expensive. In September 2002, Lawrence Lindsey, then the president’s economic adviser, estimated a war with Iraq would cost between $100 and $200 billion.  It has already cost over $550 billion, and estimates of the total price if the war continues for another few years run as high as $2 trillion.”

“At the moment, the U.S. is putting much of this remarkable expense on the tab with Japan and (ironically), China.  But eventually someone will have to begin to pay.  With its economy already under great strain, that someone can’t be the United States.  While their plan hasn’t started working yet, the neocons’ prewar prediction was that the U.S. would buy the weaponry used to dominate Iraq with profit from Iraqi oil.  When the expenses previously mentioned are included, that would leave very little for the Iraqis.”

“Where obtaining the Middle East’s oil is concerned, China and the U.S. might be compared to guests at a pot luck dinner.  China is able to bring a dish and put it on the table with dishes brought by others and those provided by the host.  The United States’ only option is to arrive empty handed and declare ‘Everybody away from the table, I’m going to eat!’; not a very friendly approach perhaps, but the only one open to the neocons if they would preserve their state and Western culture.”

“Under the circumstances, the U.S. had no choice.  In order to seize control of Iraq’s oil and profitably determine its distribution, it would have to do the following: “

“ * Annihilate not only Saddam, the country’s prince, but a large section of the Iraqi elite: the military officers, judges, doctors, lawyers, university presidents, engineers and chemists who would otherwise disruptively demand a continuation of their favored situations.”

“* Kill or drive from the country a few million middle class Iraqis, whose statuses it would likewise be impossible to sustain.”

“ * Destroy the economic, political and judicial system through which the Baathists held power, including the symbols of their authority.”

“ * Raze the infrastructure vital to the country’s existence: its electrical grids, telephone, water and sewage systems, its colleges and universities, rail lines and bridges.  This would help to force middle class Iraqis out of the country by reducing their living standard to the bare-survival level.”

“* Then, it would  be necessary to break the country into several pieces, assigning control over each piece to that economically poorest group which would be capable of defending both its own authority and U.S. dominion over the oil.”

“Surely you can now understand the material truth of my claim that lies aren’t merely useful when a leader must direct the annihilation of another people in order to save his state.  They are essential!”

“Consider the insane consequences if the neocons had chosen to be honest prior to the ‘shock and awe’ bombing of Baghdad.”

“Suppose Cheney had gone on television to announce:”

“’My dear fellow Americans: to preserve the U.S. economy upon which we all depend for our survival, and to preserve Western Culture, the wellspring and the repository of all that we hold dear, we are going to lay-waste Iraq, wantonly killing between tens-of-thousands and a million or more people, from babies and little children, to the aged and the infirm.”

“’We intend to traumatize the Iraqi population by ripping out the arteries of their state: eradicating its army, destroying its hospitals, universities, highways and bridges, its water purification systems and electricity generating plants.”

“’We will make the Sunnis’ and Shiites’ situations so desperate that they turn upon each other to survive.’”

“’We are going to urge Shia slum dwellers to vent the frustration and rage long-smoldering in their hearts by robbing and killing those who have the things they’ve been denied: the country’s professionals, its doctors, lawyers, chemists and professors.  When they hesitate, we will do the killing for them in their name.’”

“’We are preparing to dispatch more than 130,000 highly-trained mercenaries drawn from around the world: the coldest, most ruthless men we are able find.  We will encourage the mercenaries to murder Iraqis on impulse and at will, providing them with full impunity for their rapine and slaughter.’”

“Simultaneous with cleansing Iraq of individuals who might present a troublesome opposition, we are going to construct huge, heavily-fortified military bases from which we will direct an equally necessary destructive conquest of other Mid East states sometime in the near future.’”

“In case some of you still don’t ‘get it’ respecting the indispensable function of lies, let me end my opening argument with an analogy.”

“Imagine a fisherman who puts his net in the water, then throws in bait to attract the fish. It’s called ‘chumming,’ and it works.  The fish become so intent on eating the bait that it never occurs to them they are themselves about to be caught and eaten.”

“So it is with the neocon deceptions about Iraq.  Like fish feeding on chum, liberal opponents of the war have focused on, obsessed about, the lies, successfully distracted from the material realities the lies are told to camouflage.”

“’There were no weapons of mass destruction!’ the liberals have screamed.  ‘Saddam did not attempt to buy enriched uranium from Niger!  Nor did he provide al Qaeda with support!  The Iraqi people do not see us as liberators!  ‘And we are not bringing them democracy!’”

In short, liberal opponents of the war have been using the very neocon lies they claim to reject to evaluate events in Iraq (a downright mind-boggling activity when you think about it).  In doing so, they contemplate failure at every turn: the countrywide destruction; the raw sewage in Baghdad’s drinking water; the suicide bombings, with 80 to 100 innocent people killed every day; the 4 million Iraqis who have abandoned their homes, 2 million fleeing to Syria and Jordan.

“All the while, Vice President Cheney employs the neocons’ material strategy and objectives to judge the same events and, with a condescending smile on his face, he assures reporters that all is going well. “

“To Cheney, it’s blatantly evident that the mercenaries and American forces are creating the chaotic destruction required for the U.S. to gain unchallenged control of Iraq and its oil.”

“It’s equally evident to him the neocons’ lies are working just as intended.”

“Conservative Americans continue to support the war enthusiastically, while the liberal opposition fumes and fusses about neocon lies being demonstratively false, studiously avoiding any materialist analysis of the war, as though just touching the subject might prove fatal.”

“They write, email, phone and finance presidential and congressional candidates who urge the U.S. must withdraw from Iraq, ignoring the overwhelming material evidence it isn’t going to happen no matter who occupies the White House and the Congress; a point  made by retired Air Force Lieutenant Karen Kwiatkowski, who served as a Pentagon analyst and desk officer immediately prior to the war.”

“In defense of that proposition, Kwiatkowski referred to the four U.S. ‘mega bases’ already completed.  ‘Of the 150,000 to 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq,’ she  noted, ‘probably 110,000  are associated with one of those bases, safely ensconced behind acres and acres of concrete.’”

“The bases will ‘operate there indefinitely,’ Kwiatkowski observed, ‘no matter what happens in Baghdad, no matter who takes over, no matter if the country splits into three pieces or stays one.  We are not leaving the bases, and a Democratic president, I don’t care who they are, will keep them there.’”

“All four of the bases–al-Asad Air Base, Balad Air Base, Camp Fallujah and Camp Taqaddum—are able to accommodate the largest planes.  The neocons had them built to serve as launching platforms from which other Middle East countries can be monitored and, when necessary, attacked.  Their function, and what can actually be done about them, are grand-scale material issues the neocons’ opposition almost never discuss.”

“Then there’s the $700 million U.S. Embassy constructed in the heavily secured Green Zone.  While no meaningful effort has been made to provide Baghdad residents living outside the Green Zone with basic necessities like potable water and electricity, the Embassy is approaching completion.  Covering 104 acres, an area larger than the Vatican, it’s the biggest embassy in the world.  But its objective purpose and what can or should be done with it, are likewise critical material questions about which opponents of the war are silent.”

“The Iraq war opposition also avoids the troublesome material issue of the mercenaries operating and killing in Iraq, their number equal to that of U.S. forces.”

“Now I’m going to tie the only remaining loose thread of my argument.”

“You will recall that the need for leaders who take their states from peace to war to formulate a clear-headed strategy which they ‘micromanage’ is a central axiom of my theory.”

“It should be evident the neocons have done both things.”

Lieutenant Colonel Kwiatkowski, among the few members of the anti-war faction who seem to sense what’s going on, wrote of the Office of Special Plans, the Pentagon intelligence-gathering operation established by the neocons in the fall of 2002: ‘These guys had an agenda.’  ‘Our boss, Bill Ludy, . . . announced to us that from now on action officers, staff officers such as myself and all my peers . . . were no longer to look at CIA and DIA intelligence, we were simply to call the Office of Special Plans and they would send down talking points, which we would incorporate verbatim, no deletions, no additions, no modifications, into every paper that we did.’”

“Mark Halperin, Teddy Davis, Tahman Bradley, Matthew Zavala, Paul Fidalgo and others have accused Cheney of ‘micromanaging the media,’ and indeed he did.  Cheney micromanaged the Office of Special Plans as well, making repeated trips to the Pentagon to make sure the requisite ‘facts’ were being created.”

“Karl Rove, President Bush’s senior political adviser, was said to micromanage ‘everything that came out of the White House’ to insure it accorded with the neocons’ mysterious agenda.”

“Reporter Seymour Hersh wrote of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s obsessive micromanaging, and Bob Woodward elaborated upon in it his book, State of Denial. According to Woodward, Rumsfeld was involved with every aspect of military operations, sending out a constant flurry of memoes his subordinates called ‘snow flakes,’ and acquiring the dismissive appellation: ‘the 7000 mile screwdriver.’”

But, having labelled the neocons ‘Machiavellian,’ then steadfastly refusing to look for their strategic material objective, which, by definition, a Machiavellian must have, anti-war liberals have gone on to accuse the neocons of ’micromanaging’ that undiscovered, for the liberals, non-existent objective.”

“Only an idiot would behave that way, of course; and I assure you, the neocons are anything but idiots.  Maddeningly, the liberals then project their own inadequacy on the neo-cons, describing them as bumbling and inept.”

“Which brings me back to the matter of why people desire being lied to when preserving the state that sustains them requires the brutalization of another people.  The lies, I observed, provide the majority with a justification for the killing, while enabling others to engage in make-believe resistance,  puzzled by events, dragged complainingly along after the leader who prescribes the necessary evil.”

When the killing is finally over, those who’ve played the role of make-believe resisters are invariably found to support the results of the destruction with what they comfort themselves are clear consciences and clean hands, characterizing them as ‘the best that can be achieved in a bad situation.’”

“Some liberal opponents of the Iraq War have already begun moving in that direction.”

“In a spring 2007 interview Hasan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah in Lebanon, told Seymour Hersh:”

“’The daily killing and displacement taking place in Iraq aims at achieving three Iraqi parts, which will be sectarian and ethnically pure as a prelude to Iraq’s partition.  Within one or two years at the most, there will be total Sunni areas, total Shiite areas, and total Kurdish areas. . . .  President Bush is lying when he says he does not want Iraq to be partitioned.  All the facts occurring on the ground make you swear he is dragging Iraq to partition. And a day will come when he will say, ‘I cannot do anything, since the Iraqis want the partition of their country and I honor the wishes of the people of Iraq.’”

“A few anti-Iraq-War liberals have publicly backed the consequences of the neocon reality they’ve pretended to oppose.  Senator Joe Biden and Leslie Gelb, Emeritus President of the Council on Foreign Relations recommended an ethnic and religious division of Iraq two years ago, and in July of this year, Edward Joseph, a visiting scholar at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution, released a plan which calls for ‘soft partitioning’ the country. Naturally, ‘Joseph and O’Hanlon expressed regrets about the ethnic cleansing they advocated.’”

(Wiping his forehead with a handkerchief, Machiavelli ended his opening statement with a boast).

“I’ve provided you with material evidence that the neocons were right to attack Iraq; material evidence they were right when they obfuscated their motives with lies; material evidence the lies have kept the attention of Americans advantageously diverted; and, I’ve given you yet another material demonstration that when preserving the state upon which their lives and livelihoods depends requires, the great majority of people will embrace fabrication before objective analysis every time.”