The Price of Imperialism


When the Second World War ended, U.S. prestige among progressive and revolutionary forces through-out the world was never greater. Under the New Deal government of Franklin Roosevelt, the U.S. had served as the center of the "allied powers," holding a coalition of the British empire, under conservative leadership seeking to maintain its empire, and the Soviet Union, under Communist leadership fighting a war of survival and liberation for its own people and the people of Europe, together to defeat the fascist imperialist Axis powers.

Both the U.S. and the British Empire were also imperialists by Marxist definition, but the differences between them and their allies and the fascist Axis and its allies were clear. On the world scene the Allies constituted a center-left coalition against the forces of the Right, not only fascists but reactionary and conservative parties and movements, secular and religious, and those corporate capitalist groupings, including American capitalists, who sought to do business with the Axis powers.

The U.S. had used its influence to establish a United Nations organization and was under the New Deal government (itself relying on the support of a center-left coalition of labor and political forces) advancing policies to transform that organization into a political center to maintain international peace. There was also hope that the U.S. would support efforts to make the UN, through its social agencies, a body that worked to implement global policies to increase food production as well as sanitation, health care, and international labor standards that address the economic and social inequalities that produced war (and past imperialist policies which had greatly increased all of those inequalities).

But the balance of political forces in the U.S. had changed significantly during the war. Wartime economic expansion had bolstered what would later be called the military industrial complex and strengthened corporate and conservative forces. Their policy, called "The American Century" by prominent anti-New Deal publisher Henry Luce, would be to recycle and update U.S. policies of gunboat/dollar diplomacy and seek to apply those policies to the whole world.

One can debate whether or not history would have been different if Franklin Roosevelt, with his enormous political skills and leadership abilities, had lived to complete his fourth term. Or if Henry A. Wallace, who lacked those skills but was committed to a global peace and development policy centered on building the UN and continued American-Soviet cooperation (what he called "progressive capitalism"), had retained the Vice Presidency in 1944 and become President upon Roosevelt's death in 1945. But those questions are of course counter-factual and speculative in the extreme. We do know what happened and can analyze its causes and consequences.

The Big Picture of the Cold War

First, the Truman administration expressed hostility to the Soviet Union from its very first days in April, 1945, as the Red Army fought the last battle of Berlin and the European War ended. Then the Truman administration, initially fearful of the Red Army's military power and the influence of the Soviets and Communists throughout Europe and Asia, began to see the atomic bomb as a weapon that would frighten the Soviets into complying with U.S. demands for the economic and political organization of postwar Europe and Asia.

Even before WWII ended, the Truman administration had adopted the policy that Winston Churchill sought unsuccessfully to have Roosevelt adopt in the last two years of the war. That policy was to move away from anti-fascist cooperation with the Soviets and "Big Three Unity" toward a policy of undermining Communist-led insurgent movements and preventing Soviet forces from advancing into Eastern and Central Europe, even if that meant prolonging the war. It also meant quietly embracing fascist collaborator forces, as the British army did in the fall of 1944 when they invaded Nazi occupied Greece and opened fire on the Communist-led insurgents who had been fighting the Nazis for over three years.

The Truman administration began, in effect, to do the same thing in the Asia Pacific region from its first days. Even before the end of the war, General MacArthur's intelligence staff, in the bloody fighting for control of the Philippines, sought to distance itself from its most important grassroots ally, the Communist led people's army (HUKs). The HUKs had saved the lives of Americans and worked with American troops. Under MacArthur's orders, his staff began to provide cover stories for Japanese collaborators who the U.S. military would restore once the fighting stopped.

After the Japanese surrender, the Truman administration used the large Japanese armies on the Chinese mainland as a police force (as Truman later admitted in his memoirs) to keep the Chinese Communist party, whose influence had grown tremendously during the war, from sweeping to victory. Also, the Truman administration retained the Japanese Emperor, Hirohito, who Americans during the war had seen along with Hitler and Mussolini as the third member of an "Axis of Evil". Hirohito and all members of an extended royal family were given immunity from war crimes prosecution, even though a number were directly involved in atrocities against the peoples of China and other Asian nations.

When the war ended, Korea was "temporarily divided" into U.S. and Soviet zones of occupation. In the South, Syngman Rhee, a conservative who had spent most of the previous thirty five years on U.S. soil, was brought in by the U.S. occupation. Rhee was soon to become "our son of a bitch," the first of many local tyrants who the U.S. would establish in the postwar era and/or keep in power. In Korea also, the commander of the U.S. occupation, General James Hodge, was notorious for his racist contempt for the Korean people and his use of well known Japanese collaborators in the police to suppress student and worker opposition to Rhee and the American Military Government (AMG).

As it confronted the post war world, U.S. imperialist policy was deeply influenced by its closest ally, the British Empire. From the beginning of the cold war to the present the British Empire acted as the most faithful servant of U.S. imperialism, which mixed and matched British policies of creating balances of power and advancing in the name of "progress and civilization" policies which were their very antithesis. 1

After the British Army attacked the anti-Nazi resistance movement in Greece in 1944 (a center of its traditional sphere of influence in the Eastern Mediterranean) and installed a conservative monarchist regime filled with many Nazi collaborators and prewar Greek fascists, a bloody civil war ensued. But by the winter of 1947, the British Empire, bankrupt ideologically and financially, was withdrawing everywhere and in a state of near collapse. The Truman administration, already using indirect nuclear and other threats against the Soviets in Europe and recruiting former Nazis from the intelligence and police services of the Axis ("experts" in anti-Communism and anti-Sovietism) leaped in with a "Greek Turkish Aid bill" to replace the British military in the Greek Civil War and to buttress Turkey. Turkey had been neutral during WWII, had limited but not insignificant military power, and had a history of wars with Russia going back to the 17th century.

Along with this policy, Truman's call for a U.S. commitment to "aid free peoples" who are fighting against "subjugation" by "armed minorities" or "outside pressure," came to be known as the Truman Doctrine. However, former Vice President Henry Wallace accurately branded this policy a "world Monroe Doctrine." One could also see it as an extension of gunboat/dollar diplomacy imperialism from the Caribbean and the Western Hemisphere to the whole world. This of course was a very loosely expanded interpretation of the Platt Amendment, which claimed for the U.S. the "right" to intervene in the affairs of all nations in defense of their rights to "self determination and independence" as defined by the U.S. government.

In the years to come the invasions of Cuba, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and the failed interventions in Mexico would be repeated in Greece, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Lebanon, and Iraq (directly) and in France, Italy, Indonesia, the Congo, Brazil, Chile, Angola, Mozambique, East Pakistan, and Afghanistan indirectly. In a number of countries indirect interventions would, in the gunboat diplomacy tradition, be followed eventually by direct interventions.

These direct and indirect interventions meant concrete support of "our sons of bitches" throughout the world with military and economic "aid;" the training of military and police forces to oppress the people of these nations; the advance of "free market" policies that destroyed the limited social protections the people of these nations had; and of course the fomenting of economic crises, internal subversion against those governments who did not accept this globalized Monroe Doctrine/Platt Amendment Policy. The rationale for all of this was an unending war against a Soviet directed "world Communist conspiracy," a perpetual cold war to prevent a nuclear hot war. 2

The Big Picture of the "End of the Cold War"

Then, when the Soviet Union was dismembered and its East European alliance system collapsed (1989-1991) a funny thing happened. The cold war was over and Communism "dead in the cold, cold ground"; the conservatives proclaimed that capitalism had conquered the world and ended history. A peace dividend was coming for the U.S., the liberals shouted. But none of this actually came to pass; the military budget plateaued, as it had after the Korean and Vietnam Wars and as it was beginning to do after the truly unprecedented Reagan era spending increases. Budget deficits were sharply reduced for a while, thanks to a more rational tax policy under the Clinton administration and a more rationale trade policy, rather than any peace dividend. Legions of political missionaries and businessmen flocked to former Soviet Republics and Soviet allies, the missionaries dreaming of saving souls for their various denominations of liberty and democracy and the businessmen as always looking for money to make. Meanwhile, the military industrial complex kept rolling along.

The Big Picture of Cold War and "Post Cold War" Consequences for the United States

The distinguished historian of U.S. foreign policy, Walter LaFeber, estimated that U.S. military spending during the period from the Truman Doctrine to the dismemberment of the Soviet Union, with all of its hidden and ancillary costs, amounted to ten trillion dollars! By my estimate, military spending over the last 22 years in the "post cold war period" has more than doubled that. The pattern of expansion (Korean War), plateau(post Korean War), expansion(Vietnam War), very short inflation limited plateau(post Vietnam War), great expansion(Reagan Hollywood "virtual wars"), plateau("post cold war",) expansion on steroids(" wars and occupations against terrorism" in Afghanistan, Iraq, who knows where next) continues to this day, regardless of the administration.

The grand design/game plan of U.S. imperialism, the use of protectorates/satellites/client states and spheres of influence as against formal colonies had both avoided the high overhead costs of colonial imperialism and the politically disadvantageous loss of life that colonial military interventions led to. This was its "strength" as it developed its control over the Western Hemisphere and campaigned to open up the colonial regions, protectorates, and spheres of influence of its former imperialist rivals. The" globalization" of this policy (gunboat/dollar diplomacy) with the Truman Doctrine, the formation of NATO and subsequent military alliances(SEATO, CENTO and bilateral ones) meant that from 1947 to the present the U.S. would spend much more on the global cold war and its sequel, the global war against terrorism, then all of its allies and enemies combined. 3

Also, the U.S. would in the name of "containment," "counter-insurgency," "low intensity wars," and "proxy wars," do most of the fighting and suffer most of the casualties among the major powers. This was true in the Korean and Vietnam wars and later "wars against international terrorism" in Afghanistan and Iraq, wars that this policy of global "gunboat diplomacy" led to. While these casualties would be very small compared to the native populations of these regions, they would nevertheless be very great by all previous U.S. standards outside of the Civil War and the World Wars.

Some Speculation of the Costs of Roads Not Taken

In calculating the "price" of American imperialism to the American people, the overwhelming majority of whom are workers and salaried employees, retirees (former workers and salaried employees) students(future workers and salaried employees) many of the costs are incalculable, because of what did not occur.

How much higher would general social security benefits have been over the last sixty six years if general revenues had been added to the regressive payroll taxes (a concept which Roosevelt showed sympathy for and progressives put forward in legislation) and the social security based national health system (that was the subject of a fierce legislative battle after the war) had been enacted? How much less expensive and more secure would U.S. electrical power be for industrial, commercial and personal use if the large public power projects on the TVA model for the Columbia and Missouri rivers had been enacted? How much lower would the cost of all housing and higher education be today for the people if public housing legislation on the model of the original United States Housing Authority and federal aid to education on the model of the National Youth Administration had been enacted?

And most of all, how much lower would unemployment and insecurity have been for the whole people had the original full employment legislation put forward after the war been enacted and implemented? Given the wartime economic expansion, the establishment during the war of a system of progressive taxation, the fact that 1/3 of all workers outside of agriculture were unionized (even with the divisions between the conservative exclusionist AFL and the inclusionist CIO, the AFL had moved to the left due to competition with the CIO) the mass organizational support for all of this as well as a sympathetic public opinion was present at the end of WWII.

We might call this the "third New Deal," the one that failed to materialize. The postwar "containment" of labor through the Taft-Hartley Act and labor's precipitous decline in the Reagan and post Reagan era also meant that the large increase in wealth from 1980 to the present (seen, for example, in the tenfold increase in the Dow Jones Stock market average) was not accompanied by large increases in the real money incomes of the American working class. Although a much stronger labor movement had been able to fight for those increases in the period 1945-1975, the last two decades of the 20th century and the early 21st saw stagnation and sometimes declines in real wages.

The cold war wasn't the only reason why groups like the American Medical Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the private power companies, and their conservative coalition servants in Congress were able to bury this progressive program, but it was a central reason. The association of this program (a social security based system of national health care, public power expansion on the TVA model, federal aid to education, housing, and transportation) with "creeping socialism," the purges in the trade union movement and the arts, sciences and professions of its most militant advocates, all in the name of anti-Communism, systematically helped to defeat the entire program.4

And there were other costs that could not be easily calculated in dollars and cents. For example, we should cite the cost to the trade union movement over the last 66 years of tens of millions in members' real and potential wages as the number of workers in private sector unions dropped from 35% in 1947 to single digits today. (The cold war influenced Taft-Hartley law of 1947, sold to the people as a way to purge Communists from unions, was the beginning of this. It permitted states to pass anti-union "right to work" laws.) We should cite the continuing cost to hundreds of millions of Americans over that period of many billions of dollars in out of pocket health care expenses that working people in the rest of the developed world do not have to pay--and which we would not have had to pay if the legislation put forward at the end WWII, the Wagner-Murray-Dingell bill, had been enacted. On the other hand, the passage of Taft-Hartley, over time, gave conservative anti-labor politicians and the Republican party a huge advantage in "right to work states," which now function like the "rotten boroughs" of Britain before universal suffrage. There and then, some rural districts would re-elect aristocratic conservatives under all circumstances.

By the 1960s, this led to a situation in which, before the establishment of Medicare, senior citizens were the largest group living in poverty. Other developments one cannot put a price tag on were the high rate of infant mortality compared to other developed countries that existed in the U.S. and the emergence from the Reagan era to today of children as the largest group living in poverty. The U.S. is the wealthiest large country in history, yet it has many more poor people than any other rich developed country. That, more than anything else, sums up the domestic American tragedy.

The Little Nitty Gritty History of U.S. Imperialism. Believe it or Not, a Short List

Let me begin with a list of U.S. interventions during the "cold war" aka the period of the "World Monroe Doctrine/ Global Gunboat/Dollar Diplomacy /Platt Amendment" policy:

1. China: The Truman administration spent over three billion in military aid to Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang regime, (1946-1949) organized the regime's "elite divisions," and only ended its formal aid when the revolutionary forces had clearly gained the upper hand. The U.S, then refused to recognize the Peoples Republic of China, blocked its admission to the UN until 1972, did not establish full diplomatic relations with it until 1978 and over time gave many billions in military aid to "the Republic of China"(Chiang's rump regime on Taiwan).

Also, the U.S. helped to train Chiang's commandoes for raids against the Chinese mainland, threatened war in the 1950s over the islands of Quemoy and Matsu in the Formosa Straight with China, provided financial and indirect military aid to feudal-religious elements for an uprising in Tibet against the Peoples Republic of China(1959) and subsequently, as it came to recognize China, maneuvered to create conflicts between China and India and to use China as a "strategic ally" against the Soviet Union.

For the American people, this meant real war dangers as U.S. paratroops prepared to raid the Chinese mainland in the event of full scale war in the Formosa Straight in the mid 1950s, a peacetime draft was established (1948-1972) that undermined working class communities by taking those who could not be deferred because of they were enrolled in colleges for medical reasons, or were unacceptable because of criminal records.

2. Italy, the new CIA's first "test": the agency called by its members "the company" spent millions to defeat the united front of Communist and Socialist Parties, expected to win 1948 elections. It also engaged the Democratic party in the U.S to mobilize Italian Americans to send telegrams to relatives, provided both Marshall Plan aid and other forms of aid to the Italian government, funded Mafia elements in Sicily and Southern Italy to undermine a free election, continued over the next four decades with limited success to try to defeat and isolate the Italian Communist Party, supporting both former and neo fascists, traditional conservatives, and anti-Communist factions of the socialist party to achieve those ends

The CIA's activities here also began a pattern of involvement with organized crime groups who would use their increased wealth and connections to develop the heroin market in U.S. working class communities, destroying over time hundreds of thousands of lives and increasing crime significantly in American cities

3. Greece: The U.S. military's "successful" intervention in the Greek Civil War, with huge loss of life for the Greek people, and subsequent support for conservative authoritarian governments,(which outlawed the Communist Party )and a liberal "loyal opposition." CIA and Johnson administration support for the brutal military junta regime established in 1967, to prevent the liberalization of Greek politics and the possible triumph of left forces through free elections .

4. The Philippines: After nominally giving the Philippines its independence, U.S. "military advisors" organized the campaign to crush the anti-Japanese Huk army, electing and then removing Filipino presidents until the 1960s, when one of their "assets," Ferdinand Marcos, realizing that the U.S. was turning against him, made himself "president for life". Marcos retained U.S. support until the ouster of his brutal corrupt regime in the mid 1980s

U.S. agribusiness corporations, Dole especially, participated in and profited greatly from the exploitation of the Filipino people in alliance with terroristic regimes and local rightwing gangs to murder peasant organizers and drive poor peasants from their land

Edward Landsdale, a classic imperialist adventurer in the tradition of Britain's Chinese Gordon and Lawrence of Arabia, organized the political campaign to elect Ramon Magsaysay President of the Philippines in 1952, then directed the U.S. military mission to French colonial Indochina (1953) to remove the French and bring in Ngo Dinh Diem, a U.S. "asset" to establish a dictatorship over "South Vietnam" in violation of the 1954 agreement calling for reunification of Vietnam in a two year period.

Lansdale then served as director of the CIA's operation Mongoose (1961) the largest and most expensive CIA operation in the world, to overthrow the revolutionary government of Cuba and try to murder Fidel Castro and its other leaders.

Lansdale was an advertising man from San Francisco before WWII. He employed in a completely amoral way the methods of contemporary advertising/propaganda, connecting them to traditional policies of sabotage, assassination, infiltration and subversion of revolutionary movements and anti-imperialist governments, all the while, like Chinese Gordon and Lawrence of Arabia, seeing himself as a missionary for progress (in his case "democracy"). In the Phillipines he is remembered for using the slogan "Magsaysay is My Guy," for the election of U.S. backed presidential candidate, Ramon Magsaysay, a slogan which may have made sense in a U.S. commercial but was completely lost on the tagalong speaking Filipino rural population

The U.S. Intervention first in the French colonial war and then in its own version of a colonial war (1950-1975) would cost directly 58,000 lives, hundreds of thousand wounded, and the psychic trauma that many experienced because of the atrocities that were and are the reality of "counter-insurgency" as against the rhetoric of winning the hearts and minds of the people.

For millions of Americans the great struggles unleashed by the Civil Rights movement and enacted in Great Society legislation brought with them the possibility of winning decisive victories against poverty and racism in the U.S. The intervention in Vietnam, when all the slogans were stripped way, was, like the dozens of pre cold war and cold war interventions in Latin America, a war against the poor with a large racist subtext. 5

5. National Security Council Memorandum 68 (1950), calling for a fourfold increase in U.S. military spending needed to implement the Truman Doctrine/"containment" policy worldwide.

U.S. involvement in Korean Civil War (1950-1953) defined to American people as a United Nations "police action" became the basis for the implementation of NSC-68. (U.S. interventions in the Caribbean had been defined as the use of "the international police power" under the Platt Amendment to "maintain order" and protect the "independence" of the people who were being invaded).

The Korean war ended with a "truce," a devastated Korea(an estimated three million dead) with the U.S. creating the largest "protectorate/satellite/client state" in its history, establishing a large military presence and nuclear forward bases against North Korea, China, and potentially the Soviet Union, supporting repressive regimes and the military over the decades, and doing nothing to resolve either the Korean national question or the threat of war that its large and costly military presence represented and continues to represent.

The implementation of the principles in NSC-68, would mean trillions in military industrial complex corporate subsidies, a "warfare state capitalism" that would prevent the development of a modern "welfare state" social system in the U.S., a development over subsequent decades that would see U.S. life expectancy decline in relationship to other developed countries, public education and child care services both stagnate and the U.S develop a level of income inequality greater than in any other developed country.

6. Europe: Development of the U.S.-NAT0 bloc, (1949-present) included the nuclearizing of NAT0 to fight an envisioned WWIII against the Soviet Union and its allies; the rearming o of "West Germany," extensive and ongoing CIA involvement with intelligence agencies of NAT0 countries; involvement in French and Italian politics to isolate and defeat influential Communist parties; involvement in West German and British politics in the German Social Democratic and British Labor parties to defeat Kurt Schumacher and Aneurin Bevan, leaders of left anti-cold war factions, respectively, in favor of pro NAT0 and on domestic policy ant-nationalization of industry politicians, Hugh Gaitskell in Britain and initially Erich Ollenhauer in West Germany, a tame social democratic opposition to conservative governments (the model preferred by the U.S. for Europe).

CIA establishment and funding of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions(ICFTU) and international student, youth, and cultural organizations to fight against The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) and student, youth and cultural international organizations in which Communists played an important role. In the "name of freedom," Communists and those defined as "sympathetic to Communism" are barred from all CIA funded organizations.

Following the exposure of many of these organizations in the 1960s and 1970s, the Reagan Administration, in what is a grim joke, established a federally funded "Endowment for Democracy" to continue their work, that is to advance anti-Communist, anti socialist, pro militarist propaganda and organizations in the name of "democracy", using the model of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), whose funding Reagan sought to restrict, as it sought to defund all of the social gains won by the American working class and the whole people, demonizing these gains in ideology as "entitlements".

7. Iran: U.S. Intervention in Iran, 1946, against a Soviet supported uprising by the Azerbaijani minority in Northern Iran (Azerbaijan was a Soviet Republic at the time) threatening the Soviets indirectly with nuclear blackmail to have then withdraw their support. In the aftermath, there was brutal repression of the Azerbaijanis in Northern Iran, which went un-noticed in U.S. media.

The Eisenhower administration's use of the CIA to achieve its first successful overthrow of a government in Iran in 1953 (it had been involved in various unsuccessful attempts to overthrow governments in Czechoslovakia and Albania and undermine governments in Poland and Rumanian who were allied to the Soviet Union earlier).

After Mohammed Mossadegh, democratically elected Prime Minister, nationalized what was a private monopoly of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, Britain launched a blockade of Iranian oil. When the U.S. government refused him any assistance, Mossadegh turned to the Soviet Union to break the blockade.

After the Soviets offered aid, the U.S. declared Mossadegh a "communist" and orchestrated his overthrow, replacing him with the Shah, previously a constitutional monarch, who established a brutal terroristic dictatorship in which the U.S. was the principle backer and beneficiary. The oil was then privatized and in a classic imperialist "redivision," U.S. oil companies received 40%, other U.S. influenced companies 20%, and the former Anglo-Iranian oil company, now calling itself British Petroleum(BP) more famous today in the U.S. for spilling oil then spilling blood, was left with 40%

U.S. corporations then did very profitable business with and in Iran for the next twenty-five years, selling arms, engaging in construction projects and taking their cut of the oil. Secular liberal forces, the Tudeh (Communist) party, and all other opponents of the regime were ruthlessly suppressed, leaving the Islamic clergy as a venue for opposition.

The 1979 revolution, in which millions took to the streets against the Shah's regime, millions who understood from their life experience the history of 1953 and all that followed, was taken over by a section of the Islamic clergy to establish a clerical "Islamic Republic" which channeled mass opposition to imperialism into portrayals of the U.S. and its people as "the great Satan' and secular "Western society" as at war with all Muslims.

U.S corporations lost billions in Iran although the U.S. froze Iranian assets in U.S securities valued at over 20 billion in 1980 (they remain frozen, and their present value is unknown) and the Reagan administration did "receive" over fifty million dollars from the Iranian government in the illegal "arms for hostages" deal in order to provide the Iranian military, which had received arms from the U.S. until the revolution, with weapons to use in their war against Iraq, which the Reagan administration had supported. Most of this money "disappeared" although some was siphoned off to support the Nicaraguan contras, an expression in the 1980s of old fashioned Platt amendment gunboat diplomacy.

The cumulative effects of "warfare state" policies by the 1980s were these: a labor movement whose leadership allied with the most reactionary warlike elements of the capitalist class in the service of imperialism abroad and had been and would continue to be unable to organize against the massive export of capital abroad, which was in effect the domestic policy of imperialism in the U.S. This created the most dangerous of conditions, a chronic economic crisis and a political vacuum on the labor left, which in turn, with the blowback of the Iran Hostage crisis, enabled the Taft-Goldwater Republican right to win the presidency under Ronald Reagan and seek literally to expand the "warfare" state by either eliminating or marginalizing all positive labor and social legislation since the New Deal.

8. Latin America: Farewell to the Good Neighbor Policy and a list far too too long to go into great detail

a. Guatemala: CIA overthrow of the democratically elected Arbenz government In Guatemala (1954) and establishment of a brutal dictatorship under Carlos Castillo Armas (a U.S. trained officer) which would take thousands of lives, the most terroristic regime in the region up to that time.

b. Cuba: 1958-present. After initial failure to remove the Batista dictatorship and establish a military Junta that would defeat the guerrilla army led by Fidel Castro, steady escalation of attacks on the revolutionary government, establishment of an embargo against it, organization of a Cuban exile military force to launch an invasion of Cuba completely funded and orchestrated by the CIA to establish a puppet regime, suppress all pro revolutionary forces, and restore all U.S. property (on the Guatemalan model).

Continued CIA actions after the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion to overthrow the Cuban government and murder Fidel Castro, raids against Cuba, use of bacteriological warfare to destroy Cuban swine herds, organized sabotage campaigns against the Cuban economy, continued plots to murder Fidel Castro(last documented one in Angola in mid 1970s), work with Gorbachev regime to reduce Soviet aid to Cuba and intensification of economic blockade against Cuba following the dismemberment of the Soviet Union.

The cost to the American people: the spending over the last 53 years of tens of billions of U.S. public funds to "contain/destroy" the Cuban revolution, , the suffering of the Cuban people, the loss to all of Latin America of what a policy of Cuban-American friendship and solidarity could have meant for the development of the region, given the outstanding achievements of Cuba in education and health care, connected to what the U.S. has to offer in terms of technology, capital, and its own technical and professional workers.

Also, a major blowback from the Cuban policy in the Watergate conspiracy, (1971-1974) in which former FBI and CIA agents organized a group of Cuban criminals who had worked in CIA terrorist actions against Cuba through the 1960s to wiretap phones and microfilm documents at the headquarters of the National Democratic party in Washington

c. Dominican Republic: Indirect CIA intervention in Dominican Republic to support Juan Bosch as a "democratic alternative" to the Cuban revolution and then direct military intervention, first support for a rightwing military junta's overthrow of Bosch when his government moved in a socialist direction and threatened the interests of U.S. corporations, followed by an Invasion of 25,000 U.S marines in the name of defeating "Communists" after constitutionalist military officers sought to restore Bosch to the presidency he had won( the largest direct military intervention by the U.S in Latin America in history, thirty two years after Franklin Roosevelt formally repudiated the Platt Amendment.

The involvement of the top leadership of the AFL-CI0, in these actions throughout Latin America during the presidency of George Meany and his successor Lane Kirkland, the role of Jay Lovestone, a former CPUSA leader of the 1920s, who served to bring the AFL and later the AFL-CI0 together in funding global anti-Communist, anti-socialist actions and subversions in the world left and labor movements .

American workers and trade unionists paid a price for the actions of the AFL-CI0 leadership in collusion with the CIA. These acts not only dishonored and disgraced American labor globally when they were made known but strengthened a bureaucratic outlook in the top AFL-CIO leadership, a suspicion and disdain for militancy, social activism and class organization in favor of "working with business and government." In part because militancy, social activism, and class consciousness, on which the labor movement in the U.S. had won all of its victories,( were exactly the forces internationally the the CIA supported labor fronts were fighting.)

d. Guyana: U.S.-British joint covert action to subvert and defeat through elections the Peoples Progressive Party of Guyana (former British English speaking Western Hemisphere colony) targeted its leader, Cheddi Jagan, who openly referred to himself as a Marxist and sought to advance a socialist program. Under both the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Jagan, whose party was elected three times, the last in 1964, was driven from office

There is an important subtext to these events related to the history of racism. In Guyana the two groups who make up the overwhelming majority of the population were former slaves of African extraction and indentured laborers from British colonial India, after the indigenous population had been destroyed. British colonialism used the classic tactic of playing one group against the other, with those of Indian extraction being heavily agricultural laborers and those of African extraction much more urban workers.

Jagan, of Indian background, sought to develop solidarity between the two groups. U.S. policy, aided and abetted by the CIA's AFL-CIO conduits, actively supported Forbes Burnham, "our son of a bitch," a corrupt politician of African extraction who emulated U.S. labor racketeers and whose government pursued discriminatory policies against Guyanians of Indian extraction.

In the 1970s, Burnham is widely believed to have been behind the murder of Walter Rodney, a distinguished Marxist scholar, the author of the now classic study, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, and the most important opponent of African extraction of the Burnham government. Jagan, a dentist by profession, had been educated in the U.S. and had an American wife, who later led the party following his death. His study and involvement in Marxism and the socialist movement had really begun in the U.S.

As a bitter, ironic footnote to these events, the CIA's actions in Guyana were the only time in U.S. recorded history that the U.S. government, overtly or covertly, when intervening in a conflict between a group of African extraction and a non African group, supported the African group!!

d. Brazil: Indirect support for military coup in Brazil (1964) ousting a democratically elected progressive oriented government. Active support for military junta regimes in Venezuela, Argentina, Paraguay, etc, then supporting or opposing civilian governments based on their subservience to U.S. economic interests. AFL-CI0 Meany leadership support for these activities, helping to train trade union henchmen for the regime.

e. Chile: CIA intervention in Chilean elections of 1958, 1964, 1970, funding opposition to Popular Unity (Peoples Front) coalition of Socialist and Communist parties and liberal groups led by Socialist Party leader Dr. Salvador Aliende. Nixon administration economic/political war against democratically elected Allende government, economic policies fomenting strikes and inflation crisis, support for rightist and ultra-left groups to destabilize government, attempts to foment army coup against government, leading to the bloody Pinochet coup and massacre of thousands of people's front partisans.

All out support in terms of economic aid and political support for Pinochet regime as it destroyed trade unions, privatized Chilean social security, establishes with the "advice" of "free market economists associated with Milton Friedman a regime I would call "free market fascism," combining the politics of traditional fascist regimes, which were state capitalist, with "laissez-faire" economics, regarded by scholars of Latin America as the most brutal and repressive regime in Latin American history

f. Nicaragua: Support for the "contra war"(elements of the former Somoza dictatorship) against revolutionary Sandinista government in Nicaragua and the more traditional ultra right Salvadorian government against revolutionary FSLN in two "low intensity wars"(the new term of the 1980s) that claim in excess of 120,000 lives in two small countries through the 1980s. Blowback in the form of Reagan administration continued support for contra war following murder of U.S. nuns in Nicaragua and passage of Boland Amendment. Intensified surveillance and of U.S. peace movement, especially The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)

g. Venezuela: support for failed coup against government of Hugo Chavez in oil rich Venezuela (2002) and continued policy of harassment against Chavez's Bolivarian government as it moved in a socialist direction. Venezuela's oil wealth and location offered and continues to offer its socialist oriented government protection from direct gunboat diplomacy intervention

9. Indonesia: 1948-present.

Initial refusal to back restoration of Dutch colonialism and support for Sukarno, WWII Japanese collaborator as leader of an independent Indonesia, because of his opposition to Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI() in 1948. Opposition to Sukarno as he forms an informal alliance with PKI against Islamic conservatives and military-CIA supported assassination attempts against Sukarno, U.S. support for conservative elements of the military in Indonesia, fifth largest country in the world in terms of population at the time. Direct involvement in genocidal coup of 1965, in which an estimated one million PKI activists, workers, peasants and members of the ethnic Chinese minority are killed by the military and vigilantes linked to rightwing Islamic groups.

CIA boasts of its list of 10,000 key PKI cadre provided to the military, all of whom were allegedly murdered

U.S government support for brutal corrupt Suharto regime over decades and, in the tradition of gunboat dollar diplomacy, denying all involvements in this sordid history after Suharto's removal in 1998 and claiming since the 9/11 attacks to represent the forces of liberty and democracy against "Islamic terrorism" in Indonesia.

While most of this was minimized in the U.S. and the U.S/NATO bloc countries , in large part because the people were massacred were Communists and people of the left, Indonesia's invasion and occupation of East Timor, former Portuguese colony supported by the U.S. in 1975, became the source of an international protest movement.

East Timor, whose population is primarily Christian, declared its independence Portugal. Amnesty International has estimated that the Suharto government murdered, with U.S. supplied weapons, as many as 200,000 of East Timor's population of 700,000, while the U.S. continued to support Indonesia's "sovereignty" over East Timor in the United Nations and block attempts to punish it for its crimes. American people suffer from the leading role their government played in funding, aiding and abetting what were two genocidal campaigns,


10. The "Middle East: 1947-present. Follow the Oil

Initial replacement of British and French Empires and support for reactionary British installed monarchies in Egypt and Iraq. Close working relationship with feudal Saudi Arabian monarchy, center of the world's largest concentration of oil deposits through Arab-American Oil Company (ARAMC0) a consortium of U.S. oil companies developing the world's richest oil deposits.

initialcoolness toward Israel in the Arab Israeli-Palestinian conflict (1948-present) in favor of an "Arabist policy," support for conservative monarchist regimes in Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, to protect the oil.

Nationalist and socialist oriented revolutions in Egypt (1952) Iraq (1958) undermine this policy. Opposition to British-French-Israeli invasion in Suez Crisis(1956) as a message to the old colonial powers that U.S. imperialism was calling the shots in the region and would not tolerate any restoration of British and French power

a. Lebanon and Syria: Eisenhower Doctrine pledging U.S. military intervention in region against "Communist influence," U.S. marine intervention under doctrine in Lebanon against Pan Arab pro Syrian and Egyptian forces having nothing to do with Communist movement

b. Iraq: Intimidation of Socialist oriented military government which overthrows rightwing monarchy (1958) in Iraq, involvement in plots with nationalist Pan Arabist Baath party of Iraq to assassinate government leaders, using anti-Communism and opposition to Soviet influence as pretext. Later initial support for Baath Party dictatorship, as Baath leader and former CIA "asset" Saddam Hussein plays the Soviets against the Americans, establishes a personality cult based dictatorship and, to the chagrin of U.S. imperialists nationalizes oil holdings(1970s)

Reagan administration returns to policy of support for Hussein's regime when, seeing the U.S.-Iran conflict, Hussein sees an opportunity to attack Iran and gain rich oil lands, launching an eight year war which costs hundreds of thousands of lives and bankrupts Iraq.

Reagan administration acts to cover up Hussein's use of poison gas and other atrocities in war, encourages its oil rich protectorates to continue to lend him money to finance the war, and resists Iranian overtures to end the war contingent upon his removal.

In aftermath of war, Hussein, believing the U.S. will not oppose him (it hadn't in the past) invades oil rich Kuwait, leading to first Gulf War (1991) as Pentagon and Bush administration seek to keep military spending up as Soviet Union collapses and cold war rationales decline.

Decision is made to keep Hussein in power after his regime's total military defeat as a pawn to be used against Iran. Subsequent massacres of Muslims of the Shia religious domination and people of the Kurdish ethnic minority both opposed to the Hussein regime, were ignored by the Bush I and Clinton administration in the "post cold war era"

Post 9/11 invasion and occupation of Iraq, actively opposed by France, Germany, and other NAT0 bloc nations ; invasion based on crude propaganda contentions above and beyond anything that the U.S. government had advanced in the cold war era-that Hussein's regime was the ally of Al Qaida, which was sworn to destroy it and whose members it had hunted down and killed; that the regime was hiding" weapons of mass destruction," even though more than a decade of UN inspections showed this to be false; that the regime was a military threat even though its military forces and strength were at less than half of 1991, first Gulf War capacity.

The subsequent occupation brings together Reagan-Bush capitalism, private construction contractors, private corporate food providers to the military, private security forces, robbing the U.S, taxpayer of billions, outraging millions of Iraqis,(unemployed former soldiers watching foreign workers come and take high paying manual labor jobs) and placing the U.S. military in greater danger. The Iraq occupation, Americans should see, is an example of the kind of capitalism that the right would establish in the U.S. if they could get away with it. In retrospect, Iraq under Bush was treated more like a 19th century Indian Reservation in the U.S. then any previous U.S. occupation, with private corporations playing a larger role than in any of the early 20th century "protectorates" in Latin America

c. Libya, former Italian colony: The Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi was seen as a threat to U.S. "World Monroe Doctrine" foreign policy in North Africa because of its idiosyncratic government was untrustworthy, i.e, Gaddafi whatever else he and his regime represented was not "our son of bitch." For the Reagan administration, Gadaffi became the guinea pig for cowboy movie diplomacy, the villain who would be hunted down and killed by the sheriff and his deputies. Accusing the regime of inciting terrorist attacks the Reagan administration responded with air attacks on Libya aimed at killing Gadaffi, attacks which failed, although scores of Libyans lost their lives in the attacks, including Gadaffi's daughter.

Resolving disputes by capturing and killing your rival was standard practice among criminal gangs through the world and among rival warlords through history. Hunting and killing the head of state of a sovereign nation flew in the generations of international law and at least of few centuries of diplomatic practice.

d. Israel as the military middleman: In the 1960s, faced with the loss of the three large Arabic states, Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, as protectors of the Gulf Oil Reserves, the U.S. government forged a strategic alliance with Israel in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, which resulted in complete Israeli occupation of the all of the territories that in the original UN partition was supposed to be a Palestinian Arab state(territories taken by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, who did nothing to consolidate such a state in the previous 19 years). For U.S. imperialism this alliance was a necessity, because no other regional power existed to protect the oil, and Israel's garrison state history and mentality, along with the refusal of the Arabic states to accept its existence and negotiate with it on regional issues, made it largely subject to U.S. imperialist control, whomever was in power and at the same time made it both a servant and a convenient scapegoat for U.S. imperialism, to be used in the Iran-Contra adventures under Reagan and today as a military knight in a strategic chess game against Iran.

The American people pay and continue to pay the price of a sixty year policy recycling the largely the imperialist policies of the former British empire in the region in the interest of U.S. based transnational energy corporations, making the incomes and jobs of millions of American workers subject to the conflicts and crises in this region, manipulated by the transnational energy corporations in alliance with various governments for their profit. The American people and the people of the world also pay the environmental costs of these policies to land, water, and air as alternative "green" energy sources are remain underdeveloped

10. Africa:

The U.S. had not been involved in the colonial carving up of sub Saharan Africa, although American corporations like Firestone Rubber were involved in Liberia and other U.S. companies were involved in the exploitation of Europe's African colonies through various transnational corporations. Cold War U.S. governments both supported the colonial powers as they sought to hold onto their colonies and, as a plan B position, conservative nationalists, separatists, and military protégées of the colonial powers who would turn their nations into protectorates of U.S. imperialism and its allies, or "neo colonies" as this kind of control came to be known in the former colonial regions of the world.

a. The Congo: Using the UN as a cover, the U.S. and France intervened in the collapsing Belgian Congo, scene of some of the worst genocidal crimes in human history at the end of the 19th century, to defeat the leader of the national liberation movement, Patrice Lumumba, whom the CIA compared to Fidel Castro as a socialist revolutionary menace.

The CIA helped orchestrate the murder of Lumumba, spent millions to keep his supporters from gaining power democratically, and then turned to Joseph Mobuto, who established what international observers regarded as one of the world's most corrupt regimes, looting billions while the overwhelming majority of people were malnourished and plagued by the old diseases of poverty and a new one, AIDS, without the most rudimentary forms of medical care.

c. Angola and Mozambique: The CIA supported Portuguese colonialism in Angola and Mozambique in the 1960s and 1970s. CIA plan B strategy in Angola was to support "our son of a bitch," Holden Roberto, corrupt nationalist brother-in-law of Joseph Mobuto, against Marxist influenced and socialist oriented MPLA (Popular Front for the liberation of Angola). The CIA aligned itself with the South African Apartheid government, first to use force to keep the MPLA from taking power and then, to support a rightist separatist guerrilla war led by the adventurer, Jonas Savimbi. Similar developments occurred in Mozambique with a much greater South African participation. U.S. escalation of these actions under the Reagan administration, supporting and protecting South African military incursions and, in Angola, the wars of Savimbi and Renamo (the group made up of former Portuguese colonial forces under the direction of South Africa). Hundreds of thousands died and a greater number were made homeless through these interventions, which continue into the 21st century, largely burying the possibility for progressive social development and socialist construction advanced by the MPLA in the 1970s.

c. South Africa: The U.S. supported the Apartheid regime, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. The regime was led, from 1948 to its downfall, by the Nationalist Party whose leaders had been imprisoned by the British during WWII because of their support for and connections with Nazi Germany. Upon coming to power in 1948, in an election which saw the African population (roughly 75% of the nation's people) disenfranchised entirely, the regime enacted "race laws" which were modeled (and in some instance copied in regard to language) after the Hitlerite Nuremburg race laws.

The crimes and atrocities of the Apartheid government were known and condemned throughout the world, including the U.S. This did not prevent the major imperialist powers, and corporations from those nations, from continuing to invest in and profit from the Apartheid regime, to sell it weapons and protect it from various political sanctions at the United Nations and from international economic sanctions.

Whatever occasional negative comments U.S. political leaders made about the Apartheid state, the CIA worked closely with its South African counterparts from the 1950s to the 1980s, helping to capture African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela in the early 1960s; acting in concert with the South Africans to advance the Savimbi forces in the "contra war" in Angola; working with the South Africans as they occupied Southwest Africa(Namibia) and sought to turn it into something between a colony and a protectorate.

Under the Reagan administration, the policy was carried to its grotesque extremes. The African National Congress was, because of its historic alliance with the South African Communist Party, seen as an agent of Soviet and Communist world domination. Furthermore, South Africa itself, as the most developed region of the continent with its abundant resources, was seen as potential Soviet Union of Africa and an "ANC-Communist" government would expand northward to put the entire continent under "South African communist control."

To counter this, the Reagan administration put forward a policy of "constructive engagement", a more extreme version of the appeasement policy which the British Empire directed toward Nazi Germany in the 1930s, encouraging and apologizing for South African military aggression in Southern Africa (as against refusing to act against Nazi aggression in Central and Eastern Europe), resisting in the United Nations and in the U.S. movements for sanctions against the South African regime.

Peoples movements in the U.S. and globally eventually did compel both state sanctions and, through disinvestment campaigns, significant withdrawals of investment from the Apartheid state. It's military defeats in Angola especially, where Cuban-MPLA forces won a decisive victory against South African/Savimbi forces and the intensification of resistance by the South African masses led to the release of Nelson Mandela, the legalization of the ANC, the SACP and other political groups, and the establishment of a parliamentary democracy on the ruins of Apartheid South Africa, itself a monstrous relic of the Hitler fascism that had been defeated in WWII.

Although president George HW Bush welcomed Nelson Mandela, now leader of a liberated South Africa to the U.S. (and lectured him about the superiority of capitalism over socialism) no major power in the world had done more to support the Apartheid state since its inception than the U.S., something that should be a source of both shame and outrage for all anti-racist and anti- imperialist Americans.

Some Conclusions on the "Cost Benefits" of the American brand of Imperialism for Americans

As a popular credit card commercial goes, the price to the American people of American imperialism is, in a negative sense, "priceless."

At the end of the article I have cut and pasted as an appendix a chart and graph which looks at the history of U.S. military spending in all of its ramifications, using new GDP formulas and adding many billions to the traditional significantly lower statistic that I have long used(for example, the 12 billion in 1950 is shown as 20 billion and the numbers increase to their present 700 billion plus, well over 100 billion of the traditional estimates, which omit categories that these charts include.

Below that I have cut and pasted as a second appendix a short factual traditional account of the National Debt from WWII to today, one that uses formulas based on the percentage relationship of the Debt to GDP, using what I call conservative Keynesian formulas to explain the debt. Here the implicit argument is that all was well until the economic crisis of the 1970s, that is, what the prominent Historian Richard Hofstadter called in the 1950s "military Keynesianism" worked as military spending along with other spending and progressive taxation brought about economic growth. I reject that contention entirely, although the economic data presented in a clear form should be of great value to our readers.

Of course, none of these statistical analyses calculates (nor can they) what the effects of spending even 25% of these trillions in public expenditures for public education, public housing, public transportation, public health care, comprehensive environmental protection policies, might have been. That is truly priceless

When the cumulative effect of military spending is combined with the cumulative effects of the national debt, they show to all willing to see the "double whammy" effect, a term from the comic strip L'il Abner, of U.S. imperialism on the living standards American people

Part one of the "double whammy" is the diversion of trillions in capital from socially useful policies. Part two is the accruing of a debt whose annual interest payments provide further super profits for finance capital in the U.S. and abroad and serve as a further deterrent for (omit for) to the necessary funding of programs whose purpose is to raise the living standards and improve the quality of life for the American people, not export death and destruction in the name of national security and defense through the world.

And of course, there are the hundreds of thousands who were killed and wounded in the not so cold Korean and Vietnam Wars, the Americans who were killed and wounded in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the American forces being killed and wounded in Afghanistan today, and all of the possibilities of interventions in the near future in the name of the "war against terrorism," or "humanitarian intervention," by those in power in the U.S. who refuse to realize that any political structure, however democratic and formally protective of civil rights, has little meaning without an economic and social foundation to stand on.

In conclusion, to use a phrase from another and much better comic strip, Walt Kelly's Pogo, "we have met the enemy and he is us," not the American people but the capitalist ruling class of the U.S. and the military industrial complex which they have used since the end of WWII to gain super profits, to defeat movements to enact social legislation that would increase the living standards of the American people, to divert funds from existing programs, and to pave the way for transnational corporations to export millions of jobs to countries and regions that the U.S ostensibly was defending from "international Communism."

The way out is to get out, to heal rather than wound, to begin a phased reduction of military spending and all of its ancillary costs, to reduce it by at least half over a four year period, and shift those funds to policies of public sector reconstruction and a serious conversion to a peacetime economy, creating jobs, higher real incomes, and, with the restoration of progressive taxation sharply reducing deficits in regard to GDP development, and quite possibly running budget surpluses that would begin to significantly reduce the debt itself. None of this of course is possible without the end of the policies of American imperialism which we have outlined and the military industrial complex which is its foundation and which feeds off it.


1. "Progress and Civilization" were catch phrases of 19th century British imperialism as it created the largest colonial empire in history. "Defense of the free world" against the forces of "totalitarianism and international Communism" where the catch phrases of cold war U.S. imperialism as it established military bases through the Western Hemisphere Europe, Asia, the Pacific, the Near East, the whole world outside of the Soviet bloc and its allies, China, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Those bases represented real and direct threats to the Soviet Union and China and a potential threat to India, while except for a few months in Cuba in 1962, neither the Soviets, the Chinese or anyone else had any military base directly threatening the United States.[1] [1]

2. The list of "our sons of bitches" became truly global as names like Chiang Kai-shek, Syngman Rhee, Ngo Dinh Diem, Ferdinand Marcos, Generals Ya Ya Khan and Zia of Pakistan, Joseph Mobuto, Holden Roberto and Jonas Savimbi in Africa, and in the 1980s the Arabian anti-Soviet "freedom fighter" Osama bin Laden, joined the long established and continuing list of Latin American personalities, along with unacknowledged Nazi and other fascist war criminals. These included Klaus Barbie, the Gestapo butcher of Leon, given safe passage to Latin America after he worked for the U.S. occupation forces in early postwar Europe, General Reinhardt Gehlen, head of Hitler's counter intelligence service, who brought himself and many of his underlings to the service of West German and U.S. intelligence, and others who had served as collaborators with the Nazis in the war against the Soviet Union, who were given safe passage to Latin America(the Germans mostly) and the U.S(Eastern Europeans, Ukrainians, and Russians ). In the "post cold war period," New Russia's Boris Yeltsin headed the list of "our sons of bitches."

3 William Appleman Williams, the historian whose post writings challenged the cold war consensus more forcefully then anyone else, made these points in path breaking works like The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, Contours of American History, and Empire as a way of life. Williams, in the tradition of John Hobson, whom Lenin respected greatly but saw as a "social liberal," saw these policies as rooted in a search for continually expanding foreign markets that would produce the economic growth necessary to sustain the U.S. political economy. Like Hobson, he saw these policies as leading to preparations for war and war itself. Like Hobson also, he called for the nation and the people to abandon these policies within the existing political/economic system.

4 In 1946, the Chamber of Commerce published a pamphlet declaring "Communism Abroad and Labor at Home" as the two enemies "America" faced. Developing cold war tensions and the Truman administration's domestic failures in its first year (including its turning against the large industrial unions in early postwar strikes) led rightwing Republicans to win control of both houses of Congress, defeating many New Deal incumbents by connecting the new Soviet enemy abroad to the unions and progressive mass organizations at home. Richard Nixon in the House and Joseph McCarthy in the Senate won seats on this basis and soon represented the dominant trend in Republican political circles. Although Truman was re-elected in 1948 on a pledge to revive the New Deal at home, and Democrats regained Congress, including progressive Democrats, the anti-Communist political purges continued in the unions, the Justice Department chose to indict and try Alger Hiss in a concession to HUAC, and the New Deal revival program was killed in Congress without much opposition from Truman, whose priorities were establishing NAT0, quieting fears about the Soviets getting an Atom Bomb, and drawing cold war lines in Asia in response to the Chinese revolution.

5 Martin Luther King expressed this reality most eloquently in the period and for all time when he, said in what history may see, alongside his March on Washington speech, as his greatest speech at the Riverside Church a year before his assassination on April 4, 1967 "Beyond Vietnam: Time to Break the Silence" as expressed below.

There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military "advisors" in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

Photo: Ben Sears



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  • The history of the imperialism written by you is very impotent and very informative for the students of politics

    Posted by, 10/26/2013 1:24am (5 years ago)

  • The '68 speech at Carnegie Hall of M L K at Freedomways Magazine was held at the centennial celebration of the birth, not the "death" of Du Bois-started and staffed by the great Ester Cooper Jackson, (along with W. E. B. Du Bois, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Edward Strong and Louis E. Burnham) the better half of Dr. James E. Jackson, long time Communist theoretician, who told young and old Communists, in about 1975, at a Communist Party school"Du Bois never forgot anything." It seems Jackson's statement had much truth.
    For instance, in his middle nineties, Du Bois was asked about the Booker T. Washington controversy with him at the turn of the twentieth century-at which time he delivered a detailed description of it, so much so, that it added to what is known now about this controversy, meriting that fresh description as historic.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 10/04/2013 11:16am (5 years ago)

  • "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." So goes maybe the most popular quote of the American Communist, W.E.B. Du Bois.
    Thanks to Norman Markowitz for bringing our costly, costly, murderous imperialist intervention and repression into sharper focus.
    Additionally there is another very valuable use for this article. It connects this malady of imperialism, racism and war to the massive movement of unified forces for its defeat, the millions and millions of workers and the oppressed in the United States and the world, through the efforts of the monumental people's leader, M L K.
    The first two- thirds of the trifecta of M L K's last speeches, which will help bring the death kneel of imperialism, as we know it, were named herein.
    M L K's I Have a Dream speech in '63, his Beyond Vietnam(both name here)and his Freedomways Dinner speech, given on February 23, 1968, the hundredth anniversary of Du Bois's death, wherein he extols W. E. B. Du Bois and communists in Europe and South America. From M L K-"The spirit of freedom is not buried in the grave of the valiant."
    Tens of millions have to become active in the U. S., with the help of billions in the world, to help the U. S. and the world escape the captivity of the double-digit trillions of what Du Bois called "organized murder" of war and repression of imperialism-and we shall.
    This movement will be a natural development of what legacy M L K left us-a legacy of love.
    These trillions must be invested in the well-being of the millions of the U. S., and the billions of the world.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 09/30/2013 11:54am (5 years ago)

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