The Reason the Cold War has been Renewed

6-27-09, 12:26 pm

Original source: The Guardian (Australia)

Over dinner the other night, we were discussing the way the world had changed in our lifetime, let alone our parents’ lifetime. When my parents were born, the British Empire bestrode the world like a colossus: it was a truism that the sun in fact never did set on it.

However, within a few years the Great War had begun, a war on a scale never seen before, a war to re-divide the world’s trade and colonies as more countries entered the imperialist stage of capitalist development.

Ironically, this bloody carve-up of colonial empires also signaled the beginning of the end for capitalism itself, as the carnage of the War provided the stimulus and the opportunity for the people (including the capitalist class) to overthrow the remnants of feudalism in much of Europe, and in one very large country, Russia, to go on and overthrow capitalism itself.

The process of change on a global scale continued, through the unprecedented economic crisis of the Great Depression, the rise of Fascism (aptly defined as “the last resort of capitalism in decline”) and the descent into war once again, this time with the intention not only of re-dividing the world but of also wiping out the workers’ state in Russia.

To people of my generation, the post WW2 world was one of constant Cold-War threats, nuclear tests, and extreme anti-communist propaganda. Except for the nuclear tests, it was much like today, actually.

However, despite the momentous nature of the changes that had taken place in the world and were still taking place, there was a supremely confident tendency to ignore them or at least to minimize them: at primary school, we were taught to sing the Recessional, solemnly intoning its jingoistic lines about the British Empire’s “dominion over palm and pine” as if it would endure for ever.

I vividly recall, a few years later, a woman from Barnado’s Homes addressing my high school assembly. She was slightly built, but drew herself up to attention to declare that “I am proud to be an Australian, but I am prouder still to be British!” At least a third of her audience at Sydney High would have been Jewish refugees from Europe (or the children of same), a fact of which she was apparently oblivious.

The greatest similarity between those days and today has to be the all-pervasive anti-communist propaganda. In those days it was part of the “Cold War”, but ever since the overthrow of socialism in Russia, the Cold War is supposedly a thing of the past, isn’t it?

No, it most definitely is not. A propaganda war conducted by every possible means, the Cold War never stopped, not for an instant. It merely shifted its emphasis to suit the political climate of the time.

Capitalism eased off its more outrageously provocative propaganda while the traitor Gorbachev was dismantling the USSR, but when the country did not break up into lots of little Balkan-style statelets, but instead stayed relatively cohesive, capitalism promptly revived the flood of Cold War propaganda.

It had always been a two-fold phenomenon, on the one hand directed at people outside the Soviet Union who might be inclined to emulate it or even be influenced by it, and on the other at people inside the Soviet Union with the intention of convincing them that Socialism is a terrible system.

It is hard perhaps for those of us who do not speak Russian to grasp the extent of the anti-Communist propaganda dished up by the mass media in post-Soviet Russia: its relentless in intensity and frequency, its retailing of every Cold War cliché no matter how tired and discredited they might be in the West, its combining with propaganda about the opportunities opened up by “free enterprise” as well as propaganda for religious evangelism and even racism in the name of “free speech”.

Today, especially in Russia, very few people pay any attention to Gorbachev. Three former Soviet Republics (Moldova, Belarus and Kazakhstan) have reverted to Soviet-type governments. All over the world, people are shifting to the left, pursuing a trend that has capitalism well and truly rattled.

It is this left-ward trend that is responsible for the upsurge in Cold War-style propaganda, as capitalism’s pundits try to hold back the tide, Canute-style, both in Russia and in the West. The Russian authorities are only too willing to provide ready-made anti-Communist programs to Western television services or to co-operate in the provision of material “from the archives” for foreign anti-Communist productions, which will also be shown in Russia.

In Australia, the principal outlet for this blatant propaganda is the “public interest” station, SBS, which has seen a surge recently in its anti-Soviet, anti-Stalin, anti-Communist programs.

However, for all its intensity, this new round of Cold War propaganda will avail imperialism very little. The world is changing, because people are demanding and working for change.

No matter how much the imperialists try to hold back the rising tide of social change, to hold back human progress, they will not succeed. For it is what the people want, and the people will not be denied forever.