U.S. IMPERIALISM and the FASCIST DANGER
By Clayton Van Lydegraf
Second edition, July 1969
Even as they reach for world domination, the United States imperialists fear defeat. The U.S. capitalists strain to hang on everywhere. They take extreme measures to put down resistance. Resistance can lead to national liberation. To the ruling class this is bad enough. It fears worse to come. For it is the resistance of millions of people to the calamities caused by imperialism plus revolutionary understanding and organization which brings about the victory of socialism and communism.
The U.S. has stepped into the place of German and Japanese imperialism in this effort to dominate the globe. The U.S. imperialists exceed German and Japanese fascism in utter moral depravity. They surpass all others in the massive use of terror, torture, and genocide. The U.S. military follows the rule to kill all, burn all, destroy all. It uses and threatens to use gas, napalm, chemical, bacterial, nuclear weapons. It stops at nothing.
Still, U.S. imperialism wishes to succeed where the fascists failed. It resorts to disguise.
The U.S. government pretends to wage its aggressive wars in the interest of peace. The fascist Ngo Dinh Diem was installed as dictator of South Vietnam by U.S. authorities in the name of democracy, independence, and freedom. Gas and napalm are described as humane weapons, Whole nations and sub-continents are looted: this is called economic and military aid.
At home the same two-sided tactics are used. Ruling class power is exercised through "democratic" forms gutted of any real decision-making content. When deception fails, force is ready to hand, as in Harlem and Watts. The threat of fascism hangs in the air like smog.
If the imperialists do not yet go all-out for open and complete fascism everywhere, this is not due to their nice manners and civilized morality. Neither is it accidental.
U.S. capital is not so hard pressed by a revolutionary mass movement of workers as was Germany. It is not compelled to try to colonize Europe by military might in the German manner. Germany had to contend with an anti-fascist and anti-imperialist Soviet state power. The U.S. is able to strike up deals with the revisionist group now in power in the USSR. Nor is the U.S. ruling class now as seriously divided on policy as it was at the time of World War II when it confronted the rapid growth of its chief rival, imperialist Germany, plus Japan.
For the moment the U.S. is stronger in its bid for world power than was the fascist axis in its time.
Nevertheless, the U.S. imperialists face much stronger and more active liberation forces around the world, headed by socialist China 700 million strong. The struggle now centers in Vietnam where a heroic people is defeating the armed power of the United States by the victorious strategy and tactics of peoples' war. The Vietnamese are closely supported by the struggles of Asian, African, South American, and Caribbean peoples and by working people everywhere, including those in the United States.
At home, imperialism is confronted by an aroused Black people, by increasing dissatisfied workers, and by a mass movement, including young people, which is directed against U.S. aggression in Vietnam and the effects of the war at home.
To meet this new stage of struggle, U.S. imperialism has shifted its main strategic force from Europe to Asia, where it seeks to encircle and destroy the Chinese revolution and re-colonize all of Asia. It also seeks the maximum strengthening of its dictatorship at home. It strives for the "best" and "most efficient" combination of the two-sided tactics here also.
The deception of workers and other people through democratic forms is re-enforced by extensive bribery of selected stooges and limited concessions to some of the workers' demands.
Big business rule defends itself with "big lie" propaganda and by control of newspapers, TV, radio, universities, the capitalist parties, and trade union top offices. Window dressing is combined with the real actual dictatorship of the monopoly capitalists who recruit and mobilize all the reactionary, chauvinist, and aggressive elements inside and outside the actual government apparatus. This real control is evident in such matters as the so-called "white backlash" and in the shooting down of rebellions in the Black ghettoes.
Police, army, navy, air force, FBI, the courts are all on the ready. The war effort in Vietnam is also a rehearsal of armed force and terror and fascist mentality in case maximum profits should be endangered at home.
This main line policy is nothing else but a selective and partial resort to fascism step by step and dose by dose, while keeping up appearances in order to also use democratic traditions as a tranquillizer.
It is the domestic version of escalation and "measured response" which are the favorite words of Lyndon Johnson when he is caught with a bloody knife still in his hand. Johnson and his like perform these tasks not as private individuals but as agents of the dominant majority of the imperialist ruling class. This policy is deliberate. The choice is dictated by worldwide strategic and tactical circumstances which draw imperialism into ever deeper crises.
George Dimitroff wrote, (fascism in power) "... is the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital." (1)
Using the same basic terms, the present situation in the United States may be described as follows: "The dictatorship of monopoly capital sustained by the calculated use of deceit and terror at home and abroad. This dictatorship strives both to secure the home front and to achieve world domination for U.S. imperialism. The special feature of U.S. capitalist state power is its massive employment of all the most modern up to date means in its most reactionary, chauvinist, and imperialist enterprises and projects.
This special feature gives rise to its greatest and fatal contradiction – the great expansion of the scope and powers of U.S. imperialism stimulates an even greater and more rapid growth of the number and unity of the enemies and grave diggers of U.S. imperialism. More than 90 percent of the people of the entire globe are basically opposed to the US imperialists and can be united to secure their own liberation.
This compares to Dimitroff’s estimate: “Fascism is a ferocious but unstable power." (2) U.S. imperialism is more deceptive and more ferocious, but it is just as unstable and it has hundreds of millions more enemies.
In the short run, the policies of imperialism pay off. Harry Magdoff gives some figures. From 1950 to 1965 he cites the income from direct investment of U.S. capital for all countries outside the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Nine billion was invested during the period, 25.6 billion of income was transferred to the U.S. In addition another 9.2 billion was realized in increased assets as these grew from 4.5 to 10.3 In Latin America, and from 1.3 to 4.7 in Asia and Africa at the same time. (3)
In the short run – maximum profits. But the collection of this kind of loot from the most exploited and poverty stricken peoples of these continents creates a "population explosion" of sworn enemies to US imperialism.
This process will end only with the abolition of capitalist imperialism by revolution. This is a law for the U.S. no less than for other capitalist nations.
As against capitalist democracy, fascism is a different form of state power. It is not different in principle. The same capitalist class controls the armed forces and the levers of power in either case. The base of support for open fascism is narrower and more unstable. It is possible to have a mixture of both forms. Fascist forces predominate in many high circles in the U.S. without breaking out at once in obvious large scale domestic violence, terror, and mass extermination on a national scale. But the potential for this is already built in to the present ruling class state power.
Present divisions in the U.S. ruling class do not take the form of a sharp fight between capitalist upholders of "democracy" and fascists.
Open fascists and so-called "ultra rights" express some ruling class differences on tactics and timing and preparations to use terror in future emergencies. Basically, the extreme right is supported by the same big monopolies which control the administration.
Competition with the administration gets the headlines, but far more real is the collaboration and division of tasks. They work opposite sides of the same street for the same bosses.
Revisionists of the Soviet Union and the Gus Hall leadership of the Communist Party, U.S.A., support the main line of the ruling class by endorsing its "liberal" and "moderate" front. Like the imperialists, their avowed enemy is China.
At home the revisionists portray the "ultra right" as the main arid immediate danger. They cover up the basic role of Johnson in the plans of imperialism for world domination. (And in California, they tried to do the same for Gov. Brown.)
Revisionists peddle the sham defense of “democratic" forms as a real obstacle to fascism. They try to make people believe that Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, the Dixiecrats represent some other brand of monopoly capital than that which controls Johnson and Brown. In reality, Johnson is not now an open fascist not out of conviction or lack of loyalty to monopoly capital. It is simply that the two tactics works better, for now.
Trotskyites help the imperialists in their own special way. To split, disrupt, and prevent anti-imperialist unity, they condemn the Chinese revolution, and the Vietnamese anti-imperialist liberation and revolutionary leadership. They predict complete world victory for U.S. imperialism unless everyone swallows the Trotsky recipe – that is another way of saying the U .S. will surely win.
The most acute danger of fascism comes from the U.S. drive for world domination which now centers in the war against Vietnam.
Failure to win in Vietnam moves the capitalists to resort to full national mobilization and rigid control at home. The U .S. rulers will not be able to take over the entire world; nevertheless, domination at home is surely a pre-condition for the attempt to do so. The imperialists will go all out for fascism when they feel seriously threatened.
The anti-China chorus chimes in and attacks the enemies of imperialism instead of the imperialists, in order to weaken the resistance.
U.S. imperialism thus appears strong and does terrible things; it threatens millions of lives. But in the long run it cannot win because it is opposed by the great majority of the people of the entire world.
Imperialism has no real inner strength. Mao Tse-tung is right – it is a paper tiger – a straw man.
At home, workers, Black people, youth, are also in the long run impelled to resist and defend themselves. There is no great barrier separating such united struggle to oppose war and fascism – that is to resist the calamities created by imperialism – from the struggle to abolish the system itself. In fact, the great obstacle at present lies more in the deceptions practiced by monopoly capital than in any real internal strength. With added experience and revolutionary understanding and organization it will be possible to do more than merely resist the evils of capitalism. Imperialism will certainly be overthrown and abolished in our own country also.
At the close of World War II in 1945, the capitalists faced a new world situation, The astounding military, social, and political strength of the then socialist USSR was a terrible shock to the ruling class. So was the rapid and almost total collapse of fascist power. There were dreams of an American century. There were also fears that the spread of socialism and the growing anti-imperialist liberation movement could not be stopped.
As a result, under President Truman, there was a drastic shift to the right, and the cold war was launched. With it the style of the two tactics, the combination of deception and force, became standard procedure.
There was a sham battle against Senator McCarthy, head cop J. Edgar Hoover, and other reactionaries, but a real assault on labor, the Negro people, and the Left.
In foreign affairs it was talk about peaceful settlements, keeping the peace through the United Nations, even independence for the colonies held by rival British, Dutch, French, and Belgian imperialism. In action it was support to the old colonial powers to hang on until the U.S. had time to move in with its neo-colonialism – covered of course with the banner of anti-communism and the cold war.
From the opening blast of the atomic bombs dropped on the deliberately chosen non-military targets of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there has been no real change or let up. Only escalation. Each succeeding national administration is worse than the one before. This is the inevitable logic of the U.S. drive for world domination.
Harry Truman did his full share. From dropping the atom bomb, he went on to manufacture the atom spy scare. He launched the Marshall Plan. In its wake came the Hiss case, the persecution to suicide of Dexter White, the frame-up of the Rosenbergs plus a 30-year prison term for Morton Sobell. The turning of J. Edgar Hoover into a minor god able to tell off the president himself took place at this time. Truman talked about minor reforms which he called the "Fair Deal." He criticized and vetoed the McCarran Act, but allowed it to pass over his veto. He and John Foster Dulles launched the Korean War, but later Truman staked a claim as a moderate by firing General MacArthur for exceeding orders and taking a beating. In passing, Truman grabbed the Chinese island of Taiwan by using the 7th fleet. He allowed Chiang Kai-shek to remain there as a consolation after both Chiang and the U.S. were thrown out by the Chinese people.
Under Truman, there began the long process of reducing the militant part of the labor movement to a humble partner of "free enterprise" and to an errand boy of the cold war. This was done by a combination of legal moves such as the Taft-Hartley Act and the non-communist affidavit prosecutions and the mobilization of the right- wing labor leaders who forced expulsions from the CIO and merged the CIO into the right wing AFL. Under Truman the Department of Justice and the courts carried out the Smith Act frame-ups.
It will be said that some of these acts should be charged to the Republican opposition, not to the Democrats, but to McCarthy, Nixon, and others. Aside from the token and sham nature of Truman's maneuvers, there is stronger evidence of his real line. In a speech at Baylor University in Texas, on March 6, 1947, the President himself stated “the whole world should adopt the American system" and "the American system could survive in America only if it became a world system.” (4) No better launchpad for the witch-hunt and the spy scare could be imagined. Not only the cold war, but the domestic reaction is bi-partisan during this entire period.
When Eisenhower came to Washington he carried the banner of peace. He also possessed a milder personal manner than hot-headed Harry. He gave up the lost cause of conquering North Korea, invited Khrushchev to visit, went to a summit meeting, helped cook up the "spirit of Camp David" and the "Spirit of Geneva," and generally worked the "dove" image much harder than Truman – except in such cases as the U 2 incident, where the mask came off.
Nevertheless, Ike carried on where Harry left off. Shortly after he took office, the Rosenbergs were executed. During his time in office the big build-up of atomic and missile arms reached fever pitch. Particularly after the first Soviet sputnik shattered illusions of U.S. scientific and technical superiority.
John Foster Dulles, advisor to Truman, Secretary of State to Eisenhower, developed his art of "brinkmanship." While putting out the official bi-partisan line of the danger of communist aggression and subversion, Ike was busy overthrowing and trying to overthrow governments he did not like.
A prime example was the overthrow of the Arbenz government of Guatemala. Years later Ike said, June 10. 1963, "There was one time when we had a very desperate situation, or we thought it was at least, in Central America and we had to get rid of a communist government which had taken over, and our early efforts were defeated by a bad accident and we had to help, send some help right away.” (5) The administration also carried off a successful counter-revolution in Iran and managed to take Iran's oil away from Britain at the same time. It was less successful in its first efforts to take over in Laos and in Indonesia. The full story of Indonesia is still hidden in secret files. Washington is very smug and happy about the recent fascist coup there and has yet to say one word of protest or even regret at the greatest internal butchery since the mass killings organized by Hitler's Reich.
Ike's interventions and counter-revolutions, both successful and not successful, served as pilots for later larger scale assaults on Southeast Asia and China via Vietnam.
Eisenhower's big event was the case of the U 2. This episode is unique and astonishing in its exposure of naked reality. The government of the United States was caught in, and admitted openly, a deliberate violation of the borders of the USSR. Ike went so far as to state that he would do It again. This was an outright act of war. The President of the U.S. also admitted quite openly that he had told the big lie when he first denied the flight of the U 2. Not least of all, the president at first tried to soften the incident; later he completely reversed himself with no evident reason or any explanation, exposing himself as a puppet of behind the scenes ruling class forces, who used him in this way.
In the case of the U 2, the ruling class took a great risk with their entire Cold War program. One thing which saved them from fiasco was the fact that Khrushchev chose to treat the matter as a personal rather than a political issue. By the manner of his confrontation in Paris he helped his Camp David partner to recover balance.
Ike matched the Soviet feat of shooting down the U 2 in one respect. He shot down the carefully built up U.S. plan for "disarmament" after it was unexpectedly agreed to by the USSR. (6)
The Kennedy administration also promised great things for peace. It also quickly became the tool of counter-revolution and attempted U.S. take over through the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. Shortly there followed the big crisis of the confrontation over the installation of missiles in Cuba. (This calls for closer examination, which follows below.) The Kennedy term also introduced the concept of encouraging the "peaceful evolution" of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries back to capitalism as a major U.S. policy. It stepped up mobilization of educational and intellectual forces as contrasted to the "anti-egghead" atmosphere of Ike's team. Kennedy also began to treat China as the main danger rather than the USSR.
Kennedy expanded the system of token concessions to selected Negroes and advocated legal measures while doing nothing to interfere with double exploitation and fascist treatment of the mass of Black people.
Since the assassination of Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson has followed the two tactics with even greater cynicism. The Johnson performance will be examined in connection with specific issues as will the arguments of those who claim to see the main danger somewhere to the right of the administration. In passing, however, take note of the plea of the defeated Republican, Barry Goldwater, from one of his newspaper columns in the fall of 1966: "While I was being denounced by Johnson for wanting to step up our air war, and while he was giving the impression that he would never permit bombing of North Vietnam, our planes were dropping bombs on northern targets. The news was withheld from the American public as long as was possible, for obvious political purposes."
Barry's one tactic was no match for Lyndon's two. All the same, Goldwater played his important role in the ruling class "gamesmanship."
Such is the outward face of U.S. History of the time since World War II. Underlying these events, great changes were shaping up in the economic and political set-up of the capitalist system to correspond with its growth in size and in its new world role. These changes did not go to its essential character, but they did transform its superstructure to match the growth of monopoly capital and the expansion of U.S. imperialism.
Basic is the expanding war economy and the increasing role of the giant monopoly corporations. The computer, automation, the results of cybernation, have been noted. In a more incomplete way, the growth and modernization of the state apparatus has been studied.
The expansion of the Military and with it the CIA is well documented. (7) Also the invasion of privacy and surveillance of the population. (8) So is the modern computerized and super expensive election campaign. (9)
The merger of the top figures of the monopoly capitalists directly into key positions in government and conversely the bringing in of high military brass to top corporation posts is well advanced. Retired Majors, Captains, and other brass are taking over as department heads in city government, even in smaller towns.
The tremendous mobilization of the intellectual and cultural and research world and its control by the same "power structure" has been relatively neglected. Some few such as C. Wright Mills in his "Power Elite" and, from an opposite point of view, H. Wentworth Eldridge in "The Second American Revolution," have tried to sum up the entire process.
In short, after World War II, faced with new problems, the ruling class set to work to mobilize not only its industrialists and its financiers, but also its generals and admirals, its professors and its college presidents, and its top researchers, into brigades, divisions, and armies, with a tight general staff at top. It put the middle and lower ranks to work on physical and intellectual ditch digging and latrine cleaning, and the top ranks to overhauling the command.
For some time, educating the young became very secondary. It was publish or perish in the scramble for pay-off among the hired heads in the multiversity. This produced mountains of academic production never before seen in the land. They studied the chosen enemy, and the outer world and space. Also the inner world and new conditions, history and the sociology of politics and government. The old blue-print, constitutional, "civics" is long dead. They studied the defeated rival, German and Japanese fascism and the old colonial systems.
The ivory tower scholar and even the more recent "objective, detached" scientist is now a minority fighting to survive. The new intellectual is frankly out to do a job for "our" side. He is objective and factual and employs logic only so far as it is needed to avoid error in problem solving. When it comes to the "enemy" at home or abroad no quarter is given. No respect for truth is allowed to cloud the holy cause. Truth is worshipped only when it helps to win.
It is in order to say something about calculation and miscalculation. In a pamphlet quoted below, Gus Hall used the words miscalculated and misjudged etc. thirty or forty times in the first ten pages to describe ruling class policy. This gives the idea that if only Hall were at the helm, it would go well with all concerned, especially for the capitalists.
Assuming there really is a shortage, in top circles, of military and political genius such as Hall offers, the fact remains that all the geniuses of capitalism and revisionism rolled into one cannot solve the problem.
One basic "miscalculation” is built into imperialism. That is the idea that the ruling class can continue to exploit the working people of the world indefinitely. The rulers may learn from one mistake or several. such as the "mistakes" of Hitler, or from Kennedy at the Bay of Pigs and so on.
But through it all it remains a law of capitalist society that the ruling class will attempt what is beyond its strength, and having failed, will try again and again to the very end. The U.S. follows the law of imperialism. It cannot save itself with revisionist part-time pilots.
But it does everything to avoid or at least postpone the inevitable. Serious study of these efforts is compulsory for U.S. Marxist-Leninists. Therefore, we review some of the output of the capitalist think factories.
There exists a book titled American Strategy for the Nuclear Age. According to Donald Armstrong, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) commandant of the 1st National Strategy Seminar for Reserve Officers, this book grows out of that seminar. It was used as a textbook at the National War College for high brass. In the beginning of the book basic aims of U.S. foreign policy are set out by the Council of Foreign Relations in an ad hoc committee report which does not mince words, (page 11), "Such problems as are involved in the production and use of the world's resources of energy and raw materials have forced many nations, including the United States, to face new choices on how to work out relations with one another and with existing or new regional groupings, how to modify or expand international economic institutions, and whether to seek the basis of a new world order."
Further: "The interdependence and interpenetration of societies require the reassessment of what is meant by such terms as "sovereignty" and "non-intervention."
A second article, by Dr. Strausz-Hupe', course director for the reservists, spells it out: "...The contest is over the domination of the earth - and, now, its outer space - and over the future of human society."
Recently LBJ claimed that the U.S. does not wish to overthrow communist governments such as North Vietnam. Strausz-Hupe' spelled it out for the high brass this way: "In today's protracted conflict, the United States must maintain and use its power for the same ultimate purpose: to turn the tide of battle against the communists to induce them to over-extend themselves, to exploit the weakness of their system, to paralyze their will, and to bring about their final collapse." (page 16)
On page 47, the Dr. is not yet ready to openly call for preventive war; he hides behind his chosen enemy, "The true purpose of Soviet maneuvers ... to ... divert the west from what, by Soviet logic, should have been its true purpose, namely to crush Soviet power before it had attained ... parity."
And, "Their peace campaigns were designed to confirm the Western peoples in their conviction that to insure peace by preparing for war is wasteful, if not wicked, and that to strike the potential aggressor before he can strike is wastefulness and wickedness compounded."
Flanking maneuver completed, he concludes (page 50), "... The containment of a revolutionary power aiming at the overthrow of the existing world order rests upon the defender’s capability of taking anticipatory action - of forestalling war with force. In the absence of this capability - of which the resolution to use it is an intrinsic element - a military and diplomatic stalemate ensues. This stalemate favors ... the revolutionary power."
This is truly meat for the Nixons and the Goldwaters - is it perhaps a wild exception which is alien to the Trumans, Kennedys and so on? Dean Acheson, Secretary of State to Harry Truman, who used the U.N. to cover his invasion of Korea, is in the same book and seminar as all the rest. He said: "The United Nations, insofar as it believes that by its votes and by its debates it is accomplishing anything, could not be more mistaken." (page 419)
Also, "Yet moral teachings and moral doctrines can be of little guidance, if any, in assessing the substance of international problems."
And (page 421), "The armed forces have a perfectly clear idea when they speak of the conduct becoming an officer and a gentleman. A gentleman is he whose code of conduct prevails even when common sense urges an easier course. Why do people stand up when it would be easier to give in? Because, as the British say: ‘it simply is not done'. When this axiom guides the conduct of nations then diplomacy and politics are made of sterner stuff. Then there is hope that democratic peoples, knowing the truth and willing to face it, can solve the problems of the next half century."
To round' out the point, examine the roster of the Ad-hoc committee of the Council of Foreign Relations which prepared the statement of basic aims. There is found not only reactionary Henry R. Luce, publisher, but also the likes of Averill Harriman, top Democrat and railroad magnate, and advisers to presidents like Adolf A. Berle, Thomas K. Finletter, and if you please, William C. Foster, appointed disarmament director by John Kennedy. Truly a marvel of bi-partisanship.
The top Democrats most careful with their words and hard to pin down are Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy. The main thing is their deeds. But they did slip in public a few times.
At the convocation of the Fund for the Republic, on the occasion of its tenth anniversary, Adlai said, "Other more primitive, still developing peoples cannot be expected to master it overnight (free government), but move toward it they will; and such institutions as the United Nations help to train their leadership in our ways." Adlai never talked that way at the U.N. Assembly. (Challenges to Democracy in the Next Ten Years, report.)
Theodore White after a whole book of admiring the Kennedys in the Making of the President, 1960 gives a final chapter viewing JFK in the White House. At the end of a long day, he reports this observation by the President, "...But all of that - the housing program, the feed-grain bill, even the education bill - that was not the real problem. The real problem was out there (with a wave of his hand) – out there in Laos, in the Congo, in Africa. Thus, then, to one of his favorite themes, leadership and the kinds of leaders you had to find around the world who could lead their people - and now he began to rattle off names of Laotians and Congolese, styling them in personality, as six months before, he had been able to rattle off the names and style of the delegations to the Democratic convention in Los Angeles."
How apt is White's own style in comparing the President's attitude toward Africa to his style of capturing the Democrat convention!
Of course, the real test is in action. Here the classic is the Kennedy-Stevenson team in the Cuban confrontation. The crisis over the arming of Cuba with missiles is a very neglected subject in view of the fact that this was a major crisis on a world scale. It is surprising how little is to be found on the subject in the libraries. Books of current history pass it over with slight mention. It is worth analysis.
The administration created several myths about the missile dispute. The biggest one was that the immediate issue was a threat to the U.S. and of nuclear war. In reality neither side, not the U.S. nor the S.U., considered this the issue. Neither was the security of Cuba at any time the central issue. (Except to the Cubans.)
So far the only extensive treatment of this event is in a book by Henry M. Pachter, entitled Collision Course. Although Pachter is also a fervent admirer of Kennedy, and not a very deep analyst, he presents much useful information, including the so far published documents of the time.
Contrary to the advertised great threat to the U.S., the administration "war council", according to Pachter, never thought the S.U. was about to use the Cuban based missiles to attack the U.S. mainland. The war council did decide that Khrushchev was setting up something to trade for concessions in Berlin. An interview with Gromyko in the early stage of the crisis indicated great concern with that issue. Kennedy himself saw the issue as one of overall position in the Cold War and felt that he could not afford another setback involving Cuba so soon after the Bay of Pigs disaster. (Incidentally, at the key session of the council, the above-quoted Dean Acheson was one of those present.)
Kennedy held up the news of the missile bases for a week while he waited for the crisis to build up and prepared a naval blockade. His photos of the bases were obtained by U2 flights violating Cuban borders while Kennedy, like Eisenhower, was denying such acts. The naval blockade was a complete reversal of historic U.S. position of freedom of the seas. (That was almost the sole issue on which the U.S. declared war on Britain in 1812.)
During the confrontation, Khrushchev first talked about Berlin, but in the end settled on the Turkey bases as the price of removing the missiles. No mention was made of Cuba having a voice in the decision.
The "moderate" Kennedy would not negotiate. Although he had already made a decision to take the obsolete missiles out of Turkey, he made no concession. He obtained by means of nuclear blackmail the removal of weapons from Cuba, which regardless of any policy questions, were within Cuba's legitimate rights to posses and use in her own defense. The "moderate and sober" Kennedy was quite prepared to take extreme risks to further U.S. imperialism's domination of the hemisphere, and to further Kennedy's political prestige.
The "moderate and liberal" Stevenson defended this operation fully in the U.N. and dismissed Cuba's offer to negotiate provided the U.S. ended its aggression against Cuba.
The solo performance of the U.S. in the missile crisis was in sharp contradiction to its talk about consulting allies, respecting the small nations, role of the U.N. etc. At the above-mentioned anniversary of the Fund for the Republic, Lord Halisham of Britain complained: "During his election campaign, if I mistake not, your President described his future position, if elected, as Commander-in-Chief of the forces of the free world. Yet this is precisely what he is not if the allies to whom he is bound are not to be deprived of the very independence for which they are prepared to unite."
J. William Fulbright is currently a well-publicized "dove" and a great favorite of the "moderate and progressive capitalists will save us yet" school of thought. He too made a speech at the anniversary of the Fund; he said: "Government by the people is possible' but highly improbable." (page 77) And, "We have been permitted the romance of imagining ourselves revolutionaries when in fact our democracy is the product of long tradition and evolution."
The Senator quotes Walter Lippmann, himself another moderate hero, "The people have acquired power which they are incapable of exercising, and the governments they elect have lost powers which they must recover, if they are to govern."
The Senator quotes De Tocqueville, "Foreign politics demand scarcely any of those qualities which a democracy possesses; and they require, on the contrary, the perfect use of almost all those faculties in which it is deficient..."
Next he quotes Edmund Burke: "...a representative (ought) to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. ...But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you; to any man or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence."
Fulbright goes on to explain a certain exception: in small matters like voting for the poll tax it is all right to humor the voters of Arkansas in order to be elected.
The widest view of the whole effort of the ruling class in the field of the theory and sociology of politics which has turned up so far is the book referred to above by H. Wentworth Eldridge. He has top references. Dartmouth College, Ph.D. Yale. Also planning officer in combined G2 and G3 (intelligence and military government). Visiting lecturer at Harvard, spoke 17 times before the NATO defense college, Paris. Also spoke at French and Belgian War Colleges, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the German General Staff School.
He examines the theory and practice of democracy from the city-states of ancient Greece up to the present time. He concludes that democracy in the sense of the Jeffersonian tradition, or Henry Wallace's "age of the common man," never did exist and never could. And what is more this was never really intended by the ancients or by the U.S. founding fathers. What they tried to set up was a democracy of the elite, modeled on the democracy of the Greek slave-owning class.
Unlike C. Wright Mills, Eldredge sees the elite as an arm of the ruling class. (Mills was a sympathizer of democracy and Marxism; though pessimistic. Nevertheless, for whatever reason, he rejected the concept of a ruling class.)
The basic outlook of Eldredge is an almost perfect summary in academic terms, of the content of the "mainstream" course of the ruling class in recent years. He is sometimes more liberal in words than the prevailing pattern. For example be makes many biting remarks about the treatment of Negroes and their exclusion from the top circle and from the elite. But the exploitation and oppression of the Black people and their revolt against these conditions is the one major social question which he does not analyze in his book.
Some examples of Eldredge thought: " As far as the Western peoples are concerned, nationalism is probably out of date." (page 14)
"Thus ELITE and UPPER class interlock. Here lies one of the major concerns of this book: should not a more methodical search be made throughout the entire population, including the middle and working classes, for that rarest of all resources, human talent, frankly to save our collective necks?" (page 106)
"Fascism, despite itself, has made a considerable contribution to human knowledge." (page 156) (And the rest of the chapter indicates that what he means is that the fascists botched the job, but they were going after the right goals and fighting the real enemy.)
"But it is difficult to believe that the enormously experienced peoples of the Western community who in- vented democracy, the nation state, the organized Christian religion, the modern science and the industrial revolution, are incapable of creative thinking and acting in facing the job of transmitting these great contributions (selectively) to the rest of the earth's inhabitants. After all, backward Russian MUZHIKS and Chinese coolies are still slowly learning civilization from us "
"Only thus can the slow march to civilization go on." ... Or we shall all (both less-developed and affluent) end up together in the totalitarian tiger's maw or non-existent in a nuclear desert!" (page 189)
Chapter headings include: "New sources of Power: Science,” and "New Sources of Power: Thought Control." "An Aristocracy of Talent", and finally, "Executive Power to Plan and Act."
From An Aristocracy of Talent, "...modern society is too valuable to be entrusted to a mechanical majority of citizens..." (page 293)
"The United States requires for this dangerous world a centralized government of top-notch professionals tightly organized and tightly run; ..." (page 331)
And from Executive Power to Plan and Act, " ... most citizens ... are interested in the results, not the process, of government. Why not accept this fact? Actually it's probably better for all concerned for the majority to stay out; they are possibly only demagogue-bait. Only through a rigidly selected aristocracy of talent, highly intelligent, highly skilled, armed with a government designed on evolving managerial principles … can the full, planned development of the human potentials of all individuals in a rich and varied society be reached." (page 370)
The material given above is only a small part of that which is now available. The great weight of this evidence falls heavily against the revisionist line of supporting the majority trend of the ruling class based on images from the 1930s and the Ghost of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Consider this from "Labor, Key Force," published 1966, in which Gus Hall writes: "It is possible at some point in this struggle we are going to come face to face with the tactical question of giving full support, mobilizing mass pressure in the form of support for proposals of those forces of U.S. imperialism who may .be ready to negotiate for a peace that will recognize the rights of the Vietnamese people." and "...when that point is reached we are going to have the objective climate for the rise of the ultra right." (page 10)
Hall's projection is pure speculation designed to help the imperialists by heading off the workers.
At the same time it must be noted that the real picture of ruling class power outlined above is one stage in the class struggle. It is not a solution for the ruling class. The perfection of monopoly rule by the capitalists loads it with contradictions of volcanic explosive force. It is the potential explosive force of the working class and its allies which gives Marxism-Leninism its ideological power.
The present relative unity of the ruling class is not solidly based and can be transformed in the future into its opposite, disunity. One hint of this is the evident fear of Walter Lippmann and some others that getting into Asia too deeply and too soon may give the USSR a chance to bid for first place in the imperialist world.
Further, the basic unity of the U.S. imperialists on class objective does not mean that the different roles which their champions play is not of considerable importance at the tactical level.
It is an error to extend the profound basic identity of Johnson and Goldwater, for example, from the realm of aim and principles to the field of role and tactics. In the political life of the nation they serve the identical master, imperialism, but in different ways. They both compete with one another and mutually support one another.
It is fatal to follow the liberal-revisionist line of reliance on the so-called moderates. It is of equal importance not to go one step too far and say there is no difference at all. To do so makes it harder to destroy the influence of both “moderates” and "extremists." Johnson needs Goldwater as a horrible example and to cover his own reactionary deeds; Goldwater uses Johnson as an example of the futility of half-way measures and at the same time uses Johnson's reactionary essence to justify the demand for going all the way.
Marxist-Leninists employ the tactics of using these differences to destroy both, sometimes striking at one, sometimes the other, sometimes both at once. To reject concrete tactics, using only general slogans, is to make life easier for both Johnson and Goldwater, substituting left self-satisfaction for the job of convincing those who still have some faith in capitalist politics.
A further question - will the situation rock along about as it is, or will it get better or worse?
Again, the weight of evidence is that the relatively "free ride" period is coming to an end. The U.S. is meeting greater resistance and, in Vietnam, very grave defeat. Costs compared to proceeds are mounting. Both more troops and more funds must come mainly from the U.S., which means even greater sacrifice for Black people, youth working men and women.
Beneath the "equality," "freedom," "war on poverty," (Johnson just announced a 3 and a half billion cut in the non-war part of the budget) "civil rights," there lies the cultivated growth of racism and white supremacy and increasing force and terror both in the ghettoes and to drive the troops into combat in Vietnam. The ruling class makes no big distinction between escalation of butchery overseas and at home when it feels threatened.
On the whole, bourgeois democracy is the safest, most convenient form for capitalist rule - open fascist terror is a desperate resort when the ruling class is afraid it will be removed from power.
The only reliance against the ruling class going over fully to open all-out fascism is the unity and level of resistance of its chosen victims. The evidence proves beyond doubt: all main sections of the ruling class support the two tactics out of expediency - not out of principle or tender hearts. The danger exists among the insiders even more than among the outsiders.
Whatever else has changed with the passing of time, Dimitroff said one thing in 1935 which is still entirely true at present: "Whoever does not fight the reactionary measures of the bourgeoisie and the growth of fascism at these preparatory stages is not in a position to prevent the victory of fascism, but, on the contrary, facilitates that victory." (10)
U.S. imperialism is the sworn enemy of the interests of the great majority of the people of the United States no less than of the rest of the world. Failing abroad, no longer so free to pay off at home, its deceptions exposed by its brutality - forced to mine the home front for lives and loot - it will certainly not hesitate to resort to fascist terror and force even more in the future. At the same time its nature as a straw man is exposed - it nears the end.
The job of uniting all victims and enemies of imperialism and all opponents of aggressive war and fascism requires much further study, discussion, and action. It has been a purpose of this analysis to find some of the basic starting points to accomplish that aim.
References not given in the text:
1. George Dimitroff, The United Front, page 10.
2. Same, page 26.
3. “Economic aspects of U.S. Imperialism.” Harry Magdoff, Monthly Review November 1966, page 39.
4. The Warfare State, Fred J. Cook, page 157 and entire chapter, "The Bomb That Changed the World."
5. All Eisenhower expeditions are recounted in The Invisible Government, D. Wise and T. B. Ross.
6. (4.) above, page 225.
7. (4.) and (5.) above.
8. Some years back there was already scrutiny of 13 and one half million residents of the U.S. 25 thousand investigators worked for the U.S. government, not counting counter-spy and espionage investigators. One private agency had 90 thousand investigations going per day. See The Naked Society by Vance Packard, also The Privacy Invaders by Myron Brenton.
9. Making of the President (both 1960 and 1964) by Theodore H. White. Also The Power Elite by C, Wright Mills.
10. (1.) above. page 13.