excerpts from the book
The Terrorism Trap
by Michael Parenti
City Lights books, 2002
Swept along in the jingoist tide, that gaggle of political wimps
known as the US Congress passed a War Powers Resolution Authorization,
granting Bush the power to initiate military action against any
nation, organization, or individual of his choosing, without ever
having to proffer evidence to justify the attack. Such an unlimited
grant of arbitrary power-in violation of international law, the
UN charter, and the US Constitution-transforms the almost-elected
president into an absolute monarch who can exercise life-and-death
power over any quarter of the world.
Under pressure to present a united front against terrorism, Democratic
legislators rolled over on the issue of military spending. Opposition
to the so-called outerspace missile defense shield ("National
Missile Defense") began to evaporate, as did willingness
to preserve the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM). The lawmakers
seemed ready to come up with most of the $8.3 billion that the
White House said it needed to develop the missile defense shield
and further militarize outer space. In December, Bush declared
that the United States was unilaterally breaking the ABM treaty
with Russia, saying that it "hinders us from developing an
anti-missile shield that will deter an attack from a rogue state."
Congress marched in lockstep behind Bush's
proposal to jack up the military budget to $360 billion for 2002.
Additional funds were promised to the NSA, CIA, FBI, and other
skullduggery units of what has come to be known as the US national
... the United States spends more on arms than all the other major
industrial nations combined. The US military budget is about seven
times greater than the $51 billion spent by Russia, the next highest
US leaders have been the greatest purveyors of terrorism throughout
Editor of New Republic magazine
"This nation is now at war. And in
such an environment, domestic political dissent is immoral without
a prior statement of national solidarity, a choosing of sides."
The press is not just a stenographer for power, faithfully echoing
what authorities feed it. It plays a far more proactive role as
propagandist for the ruling ideology, exercising its own initiative
to soften up public opinion, telling people what to think about
events even before the events have played out, clearing the way
for policymakers to make their moves.
The war against terrorism quickly became a cover for the war against
Alternative sources [of energy] are readily available, infinitely
renewable, ecologically sound, but ... vastly cheaper and less
profitable than oil. Indeed, if developed to any great extent,
alternative sustainable energy sources could destroy the multi-billion
dollar oil industry, which is why they remain relatively underdeveloped
It is a myth that conservatives are practitioners of fiscal responsibility.
Rightwing politicians who sing hymns to a balanced budget have
been among the wildest deficit spenders. In twelve years (1981-1992)
the Reagan-Bush administrations increased the national debt from
$850 billion to $4.5 trillion. By early 2000, the debt had climbed
to over $5.7 trillion. The deficit is pumped up by two things:
first, successive tax cuts to rich individuals and corporations-so
that the government increasingly borrows from the wealthy creditors
it should be taxing; and second, titanic military budgets. In
twelve years, the Reagan-Bush expenditures on the military came
to $3.7 trillion. In eight years, Bill Clinton, a conservative
Democrat who pretended to talk like a liberal on some subjects,
spent over $2 trillion on the military.
Never do official circles or corporate
media acknowledge how, for more than a half century, US military
forces (or their US-supported surrogates) have repeatedly delivered
mass destruction upon unarmed civilian populations in Latin America,
Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and-with the 1999 bombings of Yugoslavia-
even Europe, pernicious acts of terrorism that go unexamined.
No critical discussion is offered regarding who really benefits
from such ventures and who is harmed. Nothing is said about how
the dominant interests within a small number of industrial countries,
led by the US national security state continue to monopolize more
and more of the world's resources and markets.
US leaders preside over a military force
of planetary magnitude unmatched in human history. Every year
US taxpayers give up hundreds of billions of their hard-earned
dollars to fund this global military empire, whose necessity has
never really been critically debated on a national platform. A
global military presence, we are told, supposedly safeguards our
democracy and something called "the West," discouraging
"rogue states" from launching attacks against us, and
allowing us to protect weaker nations from aggression. We are
told that "US interests" need to be defended, and humanitarian
rescue missions must be pursued. Policymakers and media pundits
toss these various assertions around like so many advertising
slogans, while ignoring the alternative explanations and analyses
offered by progressive critics.
With only 5 percent of the earth's population,
the United States expends more military funds than all the other
major powers combined. The US military establishment consists
of about a half-million troops stationed at over 395 major bases
and hundreds of minor installations in thirty-five foreign countries;
more than 8,000 strategic nuclear weapons and 22,000 tactical
ones; a naval strike force greater in total tonnage and firepower
than all the other navies of the world combined, consisting of
missile cruisers, nuclear submarines, nuclear aircraft carriers,
and destroyers that sail every ocean and make port at every continent.
US bomber squadrons and long-range missiles
can reach any target, delivering with impunity enough explosive
force to destroy the infrastructures of entire countries-as demonstrated
against Iraq in 1990-91 and Yugoslavia in 1999. US rapid deployment
forces have a firepower in conventional weaponry vastly superior
to any other nation's. US satellites and spy planes scope the
entire planet. And today Washington is developing a capacity to
conduct war from outer space. Worldwide US arms sales to cooperative
capitalist nations rose to $36.9 billion in 2000, up from $34
billion in 1999. In addition to sales, since World War 11, the
US government has given some $240 billion in military aid to train,
equip, and subsidized some 2.3 million troops and internal security
forces in more than eighty countries, many of them military autocracies.
This extraordinary situation, this global military colossus goes
on its grim and fatal way largely unexamined and unquestioned
in public life.
September 11 had a terrible shock effect on the millions of Americans
who get all their news from the corporate media and who were secure
in the belief that everyone in the world secretly wants to be
an American. They believed that America was universally loved
and admired because the United States was more prosperous, nobler,
and more generous than other countries. Very few Americans know
about victims of US terrorism abroad. Relatively few are aware
that whole societies have been shattered by US bombings or US
monetary and trade policies.
... What changed on September 11 was people's
perception of themselves and of America's place in the world.
Many felt shocked, smaller, not respected, less secure, less powerful,
and ) confused. Some even wondered if there were things that they
had not been told.
... almost all of America know next to
nothing about how US supported terrorists have taken millions
of lives in scores of other countries. The media have little to
say about those acts of terrorism, and so the general public knows
relatively little about them.
Business profiteering in the name of patriotism has occurred in
every war this nation has fought.
New York Times recently reported
"For 30 years the gap between the
richest Americans and everyone else has been growing so much that
the level of inequality is higher than in any other industrialized
Why Do They Hate Us?
Asking why there are people around the
world who hate us, the writer Madison Shockley offered a list
of grievances: "Arrogance, dominance, exploitation, oppression,
racism, militarism, imperialism ... As Iong as we continue to
thwart the aspirations for freedom and dignity for much of the
Third World, there will be those who resent us, and some who hate
us." Similarly, a retired lieutenant-colonel of the US Air
Force, Robert Bowman, argues that the United States was targeted
not because it stands for freedom and human rights but because
it stands "for dictatorship, bondage, and human exploitation
in the world. We are the target of terrorists because we are hated.
And we are hated because our government has done hateful things."
Some 1.5 billion people in the world live
in absolute economic desperation, lacking even basic food, shelter,
and clean water. One-fifth of all young men in the Middle East
are unemployed, and the region's per capita income is about $2100
yearly, according to the World Bank, which is prone to understate
the levels of economic deprivation. Leading the other rich industrial
nations. The United States "has for decades imposed poverty-generating
policies that force states to privatize resources and slash public
spending." This increases unemployment and leads to greater
poverty, disease, forced migration, and environmental devastation.
In Egypt-home of Mohammed Atta, who piloted the first jet into
the World Trade Center-8.5 percent of the children die before
age five, while Egypt's government spends a mere 4 percent of
its budget on health care.
US power supports retrograde rightwing
governments that are dedicated not to the well-being of their
peoples but to servicing the transnational corporations and the
US national security state. Many Third World leaders eagerly incur
huge debts with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Western
banks, then often pocket substantial chunks of the incoming loans.
Scores of maldeveloped capitalist countries in the Third World
are trapped in a deepening cycle of borrowing and repayment at
usurious rates, a process that further enriches global financial
interests at the expense of Third World populations. Over the
past seventeen years, poor capitalist nations have transferred
a net total of $1.5 trillion to rich foreign creditors.
The deepening impoverishment that besets
these debtor countries fuels popular resentment and rebellion.
Leftist groups emerge and begin to mobilize large sectors of the
population in the struggle for social betterment and against the
economic servitude imposed by Western interests. These democratic
movements are crushed by domestic military forces funded and advised
by the US national security state.
Turkey today remains a police state with parliamentary window-dressing.
Various critics of US policy end up blaming America for the wars
pursued in its name, noting that "all of us" have failed
to stop what is being done in our name. But does this mean we
are collaborative authors of US militaristic policies? More often,
we are kept in the dark about what is done in our name. I do not
blame the American people for what fundamentalist Muslim zealots
did on September 11, nor for what secretive and deceptive fundamentalist
empire-building zealots in Washington have been doing to help
create the kind of world that brought forth the religious zealots.
Part of the problem may lie in the bad
habit that many people have in using "we" when they
mean US political and financial elites. To say that "we"
are thwarting democracy abroad, impoverishing other populations,
or bombing innocent people, when really referring to the actions
of the White House, the CIA, the Pentagon, the IMF and the WTO,
is to assume a community of interest between the general public
and those who regularly prey upon it, which is just what the predators
CNN chairperson Walter Isaacson [in 1999] issued orders to his
correspondents that when they broadcasted reports with footage
of civilian deaths, hunger, and devastation they were to remind
viewers that the Taliban harbored terrorists who killed thousands
of Americans in September, as if viewers weren't being reminded
almost every hour of every day by the media. Isaacson called it
"perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship
To save us from such perversity, the Pentagon
bought the rights to all pictures of Afghanistan and nearby countries
taken by the world's best commercial imaging satellite, Space
Imaging Inc., at a cost of $1.9 million a month, plus additional
fees of hundreds of thousands of dollars for the images it actually
purchased. The Pentagon contract meant that news media and other
organizations outside government would not be able to obtain their
own high-resolution satellite images of the Afghan conflict or
of the entire region.
Pictures of killed or suffering Afghani
civilians soon disappeared from the US news. We now could see
nothing about the war except what the Pentagon wanted us to see,
specifically, repetitive accounts about the search for bin Laden
The media-hyped jingoistic craze that gripped the United States
after September 11 was mostly just that, a craze. In time, the
patriotic hype recedes and reality returns.
Why US leaders intervene everywhere
Washington policymakers claim that US
intervention is motivated by a desire to fight terrorism, bring
democracy to other peoples, maintain peace and stability in various
regions, defend our national security, protect weaker nations
from aggressors, oppose tyranny, prevent genocide, and the like.
But if US leaders have only the best intentions when they intervene
in other lands, why has the United States become the most hated
nation in the terrorist's pantheon of demons? And not only Muslim
zealots but people from all walks of life around the world denounce
the US government as the prime purveyor of violence and imperialist
exploitation. Do they see something that most Americans have not
been allowed to see?
Supporting the Right
Since World War II, the US government
has given some $240 billion in military aid to build up the military
and internal security forces of more than eighty other nations.
The purpose of this enormous effort has been not to defend these
nations from invasion by foreign aggressors but to protect their
various ruling oligarchs and multinational corporate investors
from the dangers of domestic anticapitalist insurgency. That is
what some of us have been arguing. But how can we determine that?
By observing that (a) with few exceptions there is no evidence
suggesting that these various regimes have ever been threatened
by attack from neighboring countries; (b) just about all these
"friendly" regimes have supported economic systems that
are integrated into a global system of corporate domination, open
to foreign penetration on terms that are singularly favorable
to transnational investors; (c) there is a great deal of evidence
that US-supported military and security forces and death squads
in these various countries have been repeatedly used to destroy
reformist movements, labor unions, peasant organizations, and
popular insurgencies that advocate some kind of egalitarian redistributive
politics for themselves.
For decades we were told that a huge US
military establishment was necessary to contain an expansionist
world Communist movement with its headquarters in Moscow (or sometimes
Beijing). But after the overthrow of the Soviet Union and other
Eastern European communist nations in 1989-1991, Washington made
no move to dismantle its costly and dangerous global military
apparatus. All Cold War weapons programs continued in full force,
with new ones being added all the time, including the outer-space
National Missile Defense and other projects to militarize outer
space. Immediately the White House and Pentagon began issuing
jeremiads about a whole host of new enemies-for some unexplained
reason previously overlooked-who menace the United States, including
"dangerous rogue states" like Libya with its ragtag
army of 50,000 and North Korea with its economy on the brink of
The real intentions of US national security
state leaders can be revealed in part by noting whom they assist
and whom they attack. US leaders have consistently supported rightist
regimes and organizations and opposed leftist ones. The terms
"Right" and "Left" are seldom specifically
defined by policymakers or media commentators-and with good reason.
To explicate the politico-economic content of leftist governments
and movements is to reveal their egalitarian and usually democratic
goals, making it much harder to demonize them. The "Left,"
as I would define it, encompasses those individuals, organizations,
and governments that oppose the privileged interests of wealthy
propertied classes, while advocating egalitarian redistributive
policies and a common development beneficial to the general populace.
The Right too is involved in redistributive
politics, but the distribution goes the other way, in an upward
direction. Rightist governments and groups, including fascist
ones, are dedicated to using the land, labor, markets, and natural
resources of countries as so much fodder for the enrichment of
the owning and investing classes. In almost every country including
our own, rightist groups, parties, or governments pursue tax and
spending programs, wage and investment practices, methods of police
and military control, and deregulation and privatization policies
that primarily benefit those who receive the bulk of their income
from investments and property, at the expense of those who live
off wages, salaries, fees, and pensions. That is what defines
and distinguishes the Right from the Left.
In just about every instance, rightist
forces are deemed by US opinion makers to be "friendly to
the West," a coded term for "pro-capitalist." Conversely,
leftist ones are labeled as "anti-democratic," "anti-American"
and "anti-West," when actually what they are against
is global capitalism.
While claiming to be motivated by a dedication
to human rights and democracy, US leaders have supported some
of the most notorious rightwing autocracies in history, governments
that have tortured, killed or otherwise maltreated large numbers
of their citizens because of their dissenting political views,
as in Turkey, Zaire, Chad, Pakistan, Morocco, Indonesia, Honduras,
Peru, Colombia, Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, the
Philippines, Cuba (under Batista), Nicaragua (under Somoza), Iran
(under the Shah), and Portugal (under Salazar).
Washington also assists counterrevolutionary
groups that have perpetrated some of the most brutal bloodletting
against civilian populations in leftist countries: Unita in Angola,
Renamo in Mozambique, the contras in Nicaragua, the Khmer Rouge
(during the 1980s) in Cambodia, the mujahideen and then the Taliban
in Afghanistan, and the rightwing drug-dealing KLA terrorists
in Kosovo. All this is a matter of public record although seldom
if ever treated in the US media.
Washington's support has extended to the
extreme rightist reaches of the political spectrum. Thus, after
World War 11 US leaders and their Western capitalist allies did
nothing to eradicate fascism from Europe, except for prosecuting
some top Nazi leaders at Nuremberg. In short time, former Nazis
and their collaborators were back in the saddle in Germany. Hundreds
of Nazi war criminals found a haven in the United States and Latin
America, either living in comfortable anonymity or employed by
US intelligence agencies during the Cold War.
In France, very few Vichy collaborators
were purged. "No one of any rank was seriously punished for
his or her role in the roundup and deportation of Jews to Nazi
camps." US military authorities also restored fascist collaborators
to power in various Far East nations. In South Korea, police trained
by the fascist Japanese occupation force were used after the war
to suppress left democratic forces. The South Korean Army was
commanded by officers who had served in the Imperial Japanese
Army, some of whom had been guilty of horrid war crimes in the
Philippines and China.
ln Italy, within a year after the war,
almost all Italian fascists were released from prison while hundreds
of communists and other leftist partisans who had been valiantly
fighting the Nazi occupation were jailed. Allied authorities initiated
most of these measures. In the three decades after the war, US
government agencies gave an estimated $75 million to right-wing
organizations in Italy. From 1969 to 1974, high-ranking elements
in Italian military and civilian intelligence agencies, along
with various secret and highly placed neofascist groups embarked
upon a campaign of terror and sabotage known as the "strategy
of tension," involving a series of kidnappings, assassinations,
and bombing massacres directed against the growing popularity
of the democratic parliamentary Left. In 1995, a deeply implicated
CIA, refused to cooperate with an Italian parliamentary commission
investigating this terrorist campaign.
In the 1980s, scores of people were murdered
in Germany, Belgium, and elsewhere in Western Europe by rightwing
terrorists in the service of state security agencies. As with
the earlier "strategy of tension" in Italy, the attacks
attempted to create enough popular fear and uncertainty to undermine
the existing social democracies. The US corporate-owned media
largely ignored these events.
Attacking the Left
We can grasp the real intentions of US
leaders by looking at who they target for attack, specifically
just about all leftist governments, movements, and popular insurgencies.
The methods used include (a) financing, infiltrating, and co-opting
their military, and their internal security units and intelligence
agencies, providing them with police-state technology including
instruments of torture; (b) imposing crippling economic sanctions
and IMF austerity programs; (c) bribing political leaders, military
leaders, and other key players; (d) inciting retrograde ethnic
separatists and supremacists within the country; (e) subverting
their democratic and popular organizations; (f) rigging their
elections; and (g) financing collaborationist political parties,
labor unions, academic researchers, journalists, religious groups,
nongovernmental organizations, and various media.
US leaders profess a dedication to democracy.
Yet over the past five decades, democratically elected reformist
governments-"guilty" of introducing egalitarian redistributive
economic programs in Guatemala, Guyana, the Dominican Republic,
Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Syria, Indonesia (under Sukarno), Greece,
Cyprus, Argentina, Bolivia, Haiti, the Congo, and numerous other
nations-were overthrown by their respective military forces funded
and advised by the US national security state. The intent behind
Washington's policy is seen in what the US-sponsored military
rulers do when they come to power. They roll back any reforms
and open their countries all the wider to foreign corporate investors
on terms completely favorable to the investors.
The US national security state has participated
in covert actions or proxy mercenary wars against reformist or
revolutionary governments in Cuba, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia,
Portugal, Nicaragua, Cambodia, East Timor, Western Sahara, Egypt,
Cambodia, Lebanon, Peru, Iran, Syria, Jamaica, South Yemen, the
Fiji Islands, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. In many cases the attacks
were terroristic in kind, directed at "soft targets"
such as schools, farm cooperatives, health clinics, and whole
villages. These wars of attrition extracted a grisly toll on human
life and frequently forced the reformist or revolutionary government
to discard its programs and submit to IMF dictates, after which
the US-propelled terrorist attacks ceased.
Since World War 11, US forces have invaded
or launched aerial assaults against Vietnam, Laos, the Dominican
Republic, North Korea, Cambodia, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Libya,
Iraq, Somalia, Yugoslavia, and most recently Afghanistan-a record
of direct military aggression unmatched by any communist government
in history. US/NATO forces delivered round-the-clock terror bombings
on Yugoslavia for two and a half months in 1999, targeting housing
projects, private homes, hospitals, schools, state-owned factories,
radio and television stations, government owned hotels, municipal
power stations, water supply systems, and bridges, along with
hundreds of other nonmilitary targets at great loss to civilian
life. In some instances, neoimperialism has been replaced with
an old-fashioned direct colonialist occupation, as in Bosnia,
Kosovo, and Macedonia where US troops are stationed, and more
recently in Afghanistan.
In 2000-2001, US leaders were involved
in a counterinsurgency war against leftist guerrilla movements
in Colombia. They also were preparing the public for moves against
Venezuela, whose president, Hugo Chavez, is engaged in developing
a popular movement and reforms that favor the poor. Stories appearing
in the US press tell us that Chavez is emotionally unstable, autocratic,
and bringing his country to ruin, the same kind of media hit pieces
that demonized the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the New Jewel Movement
in Grenada, Allende in Chile, Noriega in Panama, Qaddafi in Libya,
Milosevic in Yugoslavia, and Aristide in Haiti, to name some of
the countries that were subsequently attacked by US forces or
surrogate mercenary units.
Governments that strive for any kind of
economic independence, or apply some significant portion of their
budgets to not-for-profit public services, are the ones most likely
to feel the wrath of US intervention. The designated "enemy"
can be (a) a populist military government as in Panama under Omar
Torrijos (and even under Manuel Noriega), Egypt under Gamal Abdul
Nasser, Peru under Juan Velasco, Portugal under the leftist military
officers in the MFA, and Venezuela under Hugo Chavez; (b) a Christian
socialist government as in Nicaragua under the Sandinistas; (c)
a social democracy as in Chile under Salvador Allende, Jamaica
under Michael Manley, Greece under Andreas Papandreou, Cyprus
under Mihail Makarios, and the Dominican Republic under Juan Bosch;
(d) an anticolonialist reform government as in the Congo under
Patrice Lumumba; (e) a Marxist-Leninist government as in Cuba,
Vietnam, and North Korea; (f) an Islamic revolutionary order as
in Libya under Omar Qaddafi; or even (g) a conservative militarist
regime as in Iraq under Saddam Hussein if it should attempt an
independent course on oil quotas and national development.
The goal of US global policy is the Third
Worldization of the entire world including Europe and North America,
a world in which capital rules supreme with no labor unions to
speak of; no prosperous, literate, well-organized working class
with rising expectations; no pension funds or medical plans or
environmental, consumer, and occupational protections, or any
of the other insufferable things that cut into profits.
While described as "anti-West"
and "anti-American," just about all leftist governments-from
Cuba to Vietnam to the late Soviet Union-have made friendly overtures
and shown a willingness to establish normal diplomatic and economic
relations with the United States. It was not their hostility toward
the United States that caused conflict but Washington's intolerance
of the alternative class systems they represented.
In the post-World War 11 era, US policymakers
sent assistance to Third World nations, and put forth a Marshall
plan, grudgingly accepting reforms that produced marginal benefits
for the working classes of Western Europe and elsewhere. They
did this because of the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union
and the strong showing of Communist parties in Western European
countries. But today there is no competing lure; hence, Third
World peoples (and working populations everywhere) are given little
consideration in the ongoing campaigns to rollback the politico-economic
democratic gains won by working people in various countries.
The goal was, and continues to be, totally privatized economies
that favor rich investor interests at the expense of the people
in these countries.
When Words Speak Louder than Actions
It should not go unnoticed that US leaders
occasionally do verbalize their dedication to making the world
safe for the transnational corporate system. At such times words
seem to speak louder than actions, for the words are an admission
of the real intention behind the action. For example, as President
Woodrow Wilson contemplated sending US troops as part of the expeditionary
force of Western nations to overthrow the newly installed revolutionary
socialist government in Russia in 1917, his Secretary of State,
Robert Lansing, recorded in a confidential memorandum the administration's
class concerns. Lansing ignored all the blather that US leaders
were publicly mouthing about Lenin and the Bolsheviks being German
agents. Instead he perceived them to be revolutionary socialists
who sought "to make the ignorant and incapable mass of humanity
dominate the earth." The Bolsheviks wanted "to overthrow
all existing governments and establish on the ruins a despotism
of the proletariat in every country." Their appeal was to
"a class which does not have property but hopes to obtain
a share by process of government rather than by individual enterprise.
This is of course a direct threat at existing social order [i.e.,
capitalism] in all countries." The danger was that it "may
well appeal to the average man, who will not perceive the fundamental
Almost four decades later, in 1953, President
Dwight Eisenhower uttered a forbidden truth in his State of the
Union message: "A serious and explicit purpose of our foreign
policy [is] the encouragement of a hospitable climate for [private]
investment in foreign nations."
In 1982, the elder George Bush, then vice-president
in the Reagan administration, announced, "We want to maintain
a favorable climate for foreign investment in the Caribbean region,
not merely to protect the existing US investment there, but to
encourage new investment opportunities in stable, democratic,
free-market oriented countries close to our shores." Not
only close to our shores but everywhere else, as, General Gray,
commandant of the US Marines, observed in 1990, saying that the
United States must have "unimpeded access" to "established
and developing economic markets throughout the world."
President Clinton announced before the
United Nations on September 27, 1993: "Our overriding purpose
is to expand and strengthen the world's community of market-based
democracies." And over the past decade US policymakers have
repeatedly and explicitly demanded "free-market reforms"
in one country after another in the former communist nations of
Far from being wedded to each other, as
US leaders and opinion makers would have us believe, capitalism
and democracy are often on a fatal collision course. US leaders
find electoral democracy useful when it helps to destabilize one-party
socialism and serves as a legitimating cloak for capitalist restoration.
But when it becomes a barrier to an untrammeled capitalism, democracy
runs into trouble.
... policymakers will not move against the system-sustaining material
interests of the dominant corporate class.
... US politico-corporate elites have resorted to every conceivable
subterfuge, coercion, and act of terrorist violence in their struggle
to make the world safe for transnational corporate capital accumulation;
to attain control of the markets, lands, natural resources, and
cheap labor of all countries; and to prevent the emergence of
revolutionary socialist, populist, or even nationalist regimes
that challenge this arrangement by seeking to build alternative
productive systems. The goal is to create a world populated by
client states and compliant populations open to transnational
corporate penetration on terms that are completely favorable to
the penetrators. It is not too much to conclude that such a consistent
and ruthless policy of global hegemony is produced not by dumb
coincidence but by conscious design.
... US leaders seem more interested in taking advantage of terrorist
attacks than in preventing the conditions that breed them. They
have neither the interest nor the will to make the kind of major
changes in policy needed to dilute the hatred that so many people
around the world feel toward US power. For one thing, they have
no interest in breaking the "cycle of violence" by refraining
from massive aerial assaults that wreak death and destruction
upon innocent civilian populations.
... violence is a serviceable instrument of ruling class control.
That is why it is used so frequently and furiously. Violence is
an effective resource of political power, one of the coercive
instrumentalities used to convince others to submit to policies
that are harmful to themselves but beneficial to the interests
of global investors. US leaders often use violence or other forms
of repressive coercion to destroy dissenting individuals, organizations,
governments, and the living standards of whole societies ...
... US global policy is devoted to benefiting the few not the
many. This global policy must be opposed not because it is a failure
but because it has been so terribly successful in the service
of the rich and powerful, at great cost to the American people
and still greater cost to the peoples of many other lands.
... the Third World is capitalism at its best, at its freest,
the place where it is least troubled by labor unions, high wages,
work benefits, occupational safety regulations, consumer protections,
environmental controls, costly social benefits, public sector
services, business taxes, and other progressive taxes. For half
a century, commentators have been talking about bringing the prosperity
of the Western world to the Third World. What is overlooked is
that the real goal has been the other way around: to bring the
Third World to the Western world, rolling back the century of
democratic gains won by working people in North America and Europe.
The struggle is between those who believe that the land, labor,
capital, technology, markets, and natural resources of society
should be used as expendable resources for transnational profit
accumulation, and those who believe that such things should be
used for the mutual benefit of the populace.
What we need is to move away from liberal
complaints about how bad things are and toward a radical analysis
that explains why they are so ...
Those who believe in democracy must not be taken in by the reactionism
that cloaks itself in patriotic hype. They must continue in their
determination to educate, organize, and act.
Michael Parenti page