In this essay we will cover Johnston and then the following new grounds--the difference between exploiter patriotism and exploited patriotism and their relationship to republicanism and monarchy, the difference between striving patriotism and self-comforting or narcissistic patriotism and an historical re- assessment of Western political forces, politically and not just economically.
As we edit this article, Hillary Clinton's now fired staffers have already claimed that Obama is not patriotic. Now she is in the media the day before the crucial New Hampshire primary about how "we care about our country" before making references to Obama. Patriotism is always hot on the campaign trail in the united $tates.
Review of Johnston
"All oppressed nations want independence.
"Everything is subject to change. The big decadent forces will give way to the small new-born forces. The small forces will change into big forces because the majority of the people demand this change."--Mao
Probably the most used example of the trade-offs with patriotism is Hitler, who proved that patriotism can justify anything. The Truth about Patriotism argues that democracy and liberty are incompatible with patriotism. The argument in a nutshell is seemingly predictable to MIM, to oppose patriotism, the apple pie, we have to have cherry pie according to Johnston--the cherry pie being Liberalism and democracy. Against him, Johnston also finds writers who say that patriotism is the only thing that can save liberal democracy. (pp. 36, 45) In defense of Johnston, obviously patriotism did not save Weimar Germany's liberal democracy, quite the opposite.
We at MIM oppose both Johnston and his critics, because for example, it is quite within the realm of the possible to rally a U.$. majority to seize Iraq's oil, especially if the cost in troops is low enough. It's a concrete question about the U.$. majority and its class interests. Whether a majority supports or opposes patriotism is irrelevant to MIM, because either way we would be talking about exploiter patriotism.
The opening chapters had this reviewer thinking that here again is an intellectual using fancy words to get around his own political disempowerment. On the other hand, we would rather see people read this book on patriotism than other pre-scientific books. We probably have to notice the difference between cherry pie and apple pie, before we learn how to bake them.
We got through the whole book without finding any scientific analysis of the social vehicle that is going to carry out democratic tasks that Johnston advocates. That's why we point out the possibility of seizing Iraqi oil. Johnston goes so far as to say that democracy tends by itself to eradicating individuality without explaining that much either. (p. 12) The result is that The Truth about Patriotism is an example of comparative moralizing about history and story- telling generally: it is a pre-scientific work with the difference that it is a work attempting to be systematic in its moralizing. It is only one step from Johnston to a scientific approach, so it's not all bad. We have to learn to reason about politics and history in Johnston's fashion first.
In a scientific approach, we have already accepted that there are a variety of ethical goals possible for pursuit. Next we start to ask ourselves questions about how values come packaged together: "can I keep 10% of my patriotism and get 90% of my democracy and liberty goals?" Once we start to ask these questions, we realize that the real meat of discussion is how the real world works, not the relative value of patriotism versus democracy versus liberty versus other humyn rights. The question is how the humyn being can tweak reality to achieve greater good. Most important questions are at the margin as we have discussed elsewhere.
The reason that a Stalin or a MIM often seem amoral or immoral to people is that we find the question of values uninteresting once one has checked into them all. Once one has looked at all the cars for sale on the lot, we start to want to know about their mechanical properties. For Marx, the most common immorality was resistance to the forward march of history. We can think of the Nazis putting up a fight for Berlin or rag-tag bunches of Confederates fighting to the very end of the U.S. Civil War. Contemporary patriotism has factored in some phenomenal wastes.
Steve Johnston tags patriotism as a death cult, (pp. 22, 195) differing from other death cults in needing narcissism and enemies, especially enemies of unbound possibilities. Patriotism has to have enemies, because otherwise, the sacrifice of Japanese lives at Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be counted as U.$. patriotism for bringing the war to an end sooner. Sacrifice for the good of others in itself is not the substance of patriotism.(p. 128)
Nonetheless, despite patriotism's ugly characteristics, Johnston says patriotism cannot be defeated by pacifism; although he provides no analysis of what extinguishes patriotism except to say that patriotism still exists and therefore pacifism has failed to quell it. We would tell him that the movement of the proletariat is the only one with a possibility of undoing patriotism, people with nothing to lose but their chains, people like Russians in World War I. When the economic circumstances connected to patriotism are bad enough, people can reach for internationalism and thereby better the planet. Johnston does not discuss internationalism or how it comes about and instead confines his work to the united $tates. As we write this, Fox News is reporting that 92% of Amerikans are happy and 84% have a good economic situation. MIM would guess Fox News is probably correct and hence internationalism is not on the immediate horizon except as imperialist globalization by the very rich, a small minority's ideology.
Next Johnston reviews the contemporary Amerikan writers discussing patriotism. Significant in this question is settling the score with the Vietnam War. MIM will say that it always saw through Todd Gitlin, supposed chronicler of the so- called New Left. Here Johnston gives us the update on 1960s sellouts and just how low they have sunk over the years, with 9/11 providing new opportunities for conformity. (e.g., p. 46)
In evaluating genocidal crimes like the Vietnam War, Johnston encourages readers to think of the country as a girlfriend or boyfriend, along the lines of the bumper sticker, "I love my country, but I think we should start seeing other people." Johnston says he started dating democracy and freedom and liked those girlfriends better, that country was unworthy of love. What kind of girlfriend would ask us to die and say things like you will be forever in my debt?
In a Bruce Springsteen song, he refers to racially motivated shootings by police.(p. 219) Johnston says that the Springsteen song refers to something that people should realize is simply unlovable yet recurrent and thus indicative of the country.
Throughout the book with examples from Socrates, Vietnam, the American Revolution, the Washington DC mall, the Kennedy assassinations and Bruce Springsteen, Johnston walks readers through trade-offs. If "love is blind," then Johnston says, "look at these other girlfriends." In addition to democracy and liberty, there is anti-racism and even family, since patriotism leads to wars that break up family relations.
Since many in Amerika do have a blind love of country, we are in favor of having books like Johnston's on the shelf. Lengthy passages are accessibly written. We only wish the whole book were readable for a high school student, because that is who would most benefit from the discussion.
Right from the beginning in 1776, there was an issue regarding slavery and the First Nations. Some revolutionaries were against slavery; yet they did not prevail and one argument against them at that time was the need for patriotic union and the fear that three colonies would not join the fight if the battle against slavery were included. Johnston points out that the battle would have been less costly to settle then than during the Civil War later. (p. 38) He also finds it unlikely that the three southern states would have held out if the American revolutionaries had held their ground. So here is a trade-off between putting patriotic union first or the struggle for liberty first. What about that girlfriend liberty? Shouldn't she be the one to love in that context? Send that patriotism girlfriend away Johnston suggests.
In the end, Johnston takes the Democratic Party line on patriotism; although crucial parts have been smuggled into phony Marxism. Johnston says that the irrational forces behind patriotism made it possible to land in Iraq and make Osama Bin Laden even more globally important than he would have been. (p. 2) It is a Democratic Party argument that Pakistan and Afghanistan should have been the priority.
The JFK assassination is another case where Johnston takes the reader to an historical situation and says there is a trade-off. No one can see how communists benefitted from putting Lyndon Johnson in power. With the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Johnston and Oliver Stone insinuate that wanting to continue the Vietnam War could have been a real reason for the Kennedy assassinations. So then there is a trade-off between elections (democracy) and patriotism, the death cult for war. On this point, Johnston says something that MIM has always said to the so-called democratic socialists: "The country turned in on itself as the antidemocratic talents that America honed abroad came home."(p. 171) All the Third World torturers and authoritarians are the first to obtain U.$. citizenship, as in after the Vietnam War. That's not to mention the more important effect on Amerikans themselves as they carry out their skullduggery abroad. Even if the reader does not accept a theory of the JFK assassination's origins, there are few Amerikans without an ambivalent feeling regarding Vietnam Vets who came home and started shooting people randomly in the united $tates, as they did in Vietnam.
If a player plays "Democracy" enough times, she can achieve an 80% approval rating in the united $tates with an environmentalist and anti-militarist reformism, but twice this reviewer in that situation ended up assassinated by a deranged patriot. One could be doing a good job and winning elections, but if someone believes that super- powerful enemies control the president, then that is the end of the game and one loses in that particular videogame.
Along these lines, the MIM reviewer could not interest herself enough to play to the end of "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" because it centers on an individual narrative where individuals recruit against each other. A real strategy game centers on larger forces, not individual skills. Nonetheless, what is interesting in this popular game is that the game-makers say in the manual that the united $tates is already taken over by Satanic international forces guised as the UN, a popular view in the U.$. hinterlands today. Johnston talks about this sort of patriotism that can be even more blind and irrational than the worst love story. In this sort of patriotism it does not matter what other people think, so there is a kind of minority patriotism too, a very coercive one. Johnston points to Kane in the movie "High Noon" as having a coercive irrationality to him.(p. 94)
Most of the book is criticizing other patriotic writers, but MIM still finds Johnston not anti-patriotic enough. Most sinister of Johnston's arguments are the ones regarding Bruce Springsteen. For MIM, it is clear that Springsteen is a potent symbol of the left-wing of parasitism, a symbol uniting the labor aristocracy to imperialism. He speaks for the supposed industrial workers and others who supposedly have a tough life in Amerika, and we know for sure that the lower-middle-class or labor aristocracy section of the petty- bourgeoisie as distinguished from the professions-oriented petty-bourgeoisie is lapping up Springsteen's words. After every expression of discontent, Springsteen emphasizes "born in the U.S.A.," ironically in the wishful thinking of Johnston types. Johnston does not deny that Springsteen performs on stage draped in gigantic flags. Yet as usual for the left-wing of parasitism's leaders, it is crafty George Will trying to co-opt Springsteen fans, (p. 215) as if the fans themselves did not find themselves co-opted by Springsteen himself. Although Springsteen makes no secret of campaigning for the Democratic candidates for president, and Johnston is no doubt aware of that, he rushes to say that Springsteen rises above the partisan.(p. 211) Richard Rorty has won victory with Springsteenism, complete enough to capture Johnston.
Since before the foundation of MIM, supposedly left-wing circles of whites have clamored for Springsteen. That this is part of majoritarian dogmas becomes evident in pseudo-Marxist circles, where their inconsistency in applying Marxism always leads to backdoor patriotism. The Progressive Labor Party (PLP) is an example of a party that finds not a single other party in the world to be genuine communist; thus, PLP is a candidate for purist's purist. At the same time, PLP admits to supporting reformists improving worker wages in the united $tates. What we have to understand is this combination of allegedly purist or pure lines on the party and united fronts with striking petty-bourgeoisie misnomered as "workers" is in fact a backdoor patriotism, the Martin Luther kind in PLP's case. It boils down to seeing Amerikans as worthy of united front but not oppressed nations. U.$. Marxism has been so bourgeoisified that PLP is almost never confronted with the class content of such a choice.
PLP condemns even Stalin's World War II united front, while working with reformists and giving birth to many reformists in the united $tates. It works for even higher wages for U.$. nurses, who are already in the stratosphere as exploiters on a global scale; yet, PLP condemns other parties and united front with anti-imperialist struggle as "bourgeois nationalism." Thus, PLP saw the Vietnamese liberation struggle as a bourgeois struggle unworthy of support. Had PLP not initiated united front with the non-communist Amerikan petty- bourgeoisie called nurses or other Amerikan non-communist workers, we could say that PLP is just sectarian in its emphasis on communist purity with everybody supposedly to PLP's right. It is the combination of views and activities that makes PLP Amerikan exceptionalist, patriotic. It has a united front with non-communists it calls "workers" inside the united $tates; yet, it does not have united front with peasants and real proletarians conducting armed struggle anywhere in the world. In fact, PLP does not so much as have a united front with a single armed struggle in the last generation.
So there are united fronts and united fronts. By examining these united fronts in practice we can see the true lines of various organizations. PLP proves in practice that its united fronts are patriotic and reformist. That was apparent even before the largest May 1st demonstrations in U.$. history that involved Mexican-flag carriers that PLP would have to denounce as "nationalist." PLP is calling for higher wages for alleged Amerikan workers, but it is opposing all armed struggles globally as revisionist or bourgeois-nationalist-led.
There is another organization using MIM's rhetoric that also has its united front. Like Johnston it makes much of Bruce Springsteen and targets his fans as a major priority for alliance. It also has concrete working ties with Phyllis Chesler, who recruits for the CIA right in print. Another top ranking CIA official recruits for its affiliated organizations. So it is not that this organization refuses all united fronts. Yet while having these united fronts, it does not have united front with Iran. It does not occur to the dupes of this organization faking MIM-style rhetoric the difference between their united front with Springsteen and the CIA and MIM's united front with Iran, class content-wise. And here we have to distinguish between when individual CIA agents get on board AFTER we have already allied with the world's oppressed and exploited, which is the MIM situation, and the situation of the fake communists where they carry out Bush's orders regarding Iran and then the CIA gets on board en masse. This organization is in united front with the CIA and Bruce Springsteen but not Iran and that should really say everything that we need to know about these Amerikkkan chauvinists.
Those who cannot see this point are unworthy of vanguard party membership. Sometimes, just reading a party's programs for its members is not enough and we have to look at how they apply their ideologies, especially the alliances (united fronts) they make and do not make.
According to Johnston, for Richard Rorty there is an "anti-American" "revolutionary left" that is only in the business of condemning--no doubt referring to MIM and others that Rorty cannot see as any different. The puritanical left in this vision "has no interest in mundane politics, because politics serve merely to legitimize a system rotten to its core and ripe for destruction: condemnation, yes, collaboration, no. For Rorty an obsession with purity makes politics impossible, since life in a pluralist democratic order requires negotiating deals and reaching compromises with avowed enemies." (p. 28)
Bruce Springsteen has failed in his electoral campaigning. Meanwhile, global anti-Amerikan forces have truly altered U.$. politics. If Bush Jr.'s Iraq War had gone like Bush Sr.'s in Kuwait, then even Rorty's and Springsteen's beloved Democrats would not have seized power in Congress in 2006. The mundane includes the reality of how war actually proceeds, not just love of country and its institutions. The Iraqis are using weapons to criticize Amerikans and driving U.$. politics, so how could it be possible that harsh anti-Amerikkkan words are unimportant compared with patriotic Amerikan words? Gitlin, Rorty and Callan also fail to understand how the minority dragged history forward and how the majority can also choose to go backward, very possibly to de facto monarchy in the u.$. case. White anti-slavery activists also surrendered their potential for majoritarian politics and registered single digit support percentagewise.
From Johnston's discussion of Rorty, it appears one has to love the U.S. Constitution to be a patriot. (p. 32) That does not make sense to MIM, but we concede others their patriotism. Many patriots if they had lived under a monarchy, we can imagine that they would have said that people have to love petitioning the king and carrying out his will or they have no role to play in the polity and are furthermore not patriotic. Oddly enough when Napoleon went to war, the Jacobins were not the majority, but how Jacobin Napoleon should be as he crossed Europe or retreated was a constant question. Yet, we can well imagine that before 1789 the Jacobins would have been considered unpatriotic by monarchists playing with republican fire and then whether they liked it or not, because of the context, Jacobins became one possible glue of French patriotism to be used by Napoleon, a specter.
As it turned out, Stalin did turn Bolshevist internationalism into a Soviet patriotism in World War II. At that time, Stalin had the Orthodox Russian Church play its full role. So for Stalin, there was only a question of where various forces were pointed. Hitler and Stalin even said that for some, Nazism would deliver a blow against the colonialism of the English and French. The difference between a scientist and a more intellectually limited moralist is that there is no fixed value for an ideology's patriotism or even its possible alliance value for internationalism. In one context, Nazis would play a negative role, but for some colonies, Nazis might help shake a liberation loose by attacking England or France. In most contexts, where Nazis fought, they played a reactionary role. To the extent that Nazis landed blows that caused France and England to have to recall military forces from the colonies, patriotic Nazism of the worst sort played a partially internationalist role.
Anyone as in Johnston's discussion of Rorty who thinks MIM is only in the business of condemning and has no relation to power struggle, we fully welcome their joining with Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul. It is especially important to do this instead of taking up disembowled Marxism, and we do agree that the Trotskyists in particular never seem to be for anything after 1924, only against the two party system, against Iran, against Stalinism--everything that has ever varied from the status quo. Some things may become clearer from practical struggle than from reading MIM's website, which is simply another world for a portion of the exploiters. The fact is MIM is involved in mundane politics, and the greatest power for change is not within the two party system, which contains avowed enemies of the international proletariat.
Majoritarian dogmas have penetrated deeply and produced many wimpy ideologies alleging to serve the oppressed. It is possible that after working for Howard Dean for some years, people with skill to escape oppressor nation dogma may reach a point where they are not allowed to serve the oppressed, at which point they are welcome back to MIM circles. For now, it is no doubt true that for most, what MIM is doing is simply impossible or inaccessible. For people who think MIM is simply condemning Amerikans and not driving history forward, they can consider that they have failed a test for digesting what is happening as a vanguard leader. People in MIM have historically also worked elsewhere before coming to MIM and there is nothing wrong with it. Explaining too much detail only mobilizes the exploiters against the exploited, so in a situation like the united $tates there is an important premium on being truly vanguard--getting out there and doing the work one needs to do to be far ahead of others politically. That's the best we can do in the imperialist countries, so we send some along to Kucinich and Ron Paul instead of letting them call themselves followers of Marx, Lenin and Mao when they cannot figure out what to do with no Euro-Amerikan proletariat or why it is important for the rest of the world to have accurate information about U.$. reality.
The transition from monarchy to republic
As we have said before, the transition from monarchy to a republic is useful for this discussion. When the bourgeoisie is trying to be done with monarchism in a thorough way, a secular individualism has a role to play against those using religion to back absolute rule of the monarch. The transition away from monarchy is a chance to question today's imperialist country patriotism, whether it really understands its own history.
To the extent that patriotism develops apart from loyalty to one religion, patriotism can serve as a basis for republicanism. If patriotism arising from war with other countries is separate from religion, then it gives birth to a popular force.
From a Marxist angle, patriotism among some peoples in some historical contexts can be a progressive step. We Marxists want to see the political activity of the exploited majority. In fact, to this day we say that the patriotism of the oppressed nations is a progressive force. The class content of a national struggle in the Third World against the imperialist countries is the proletariat versus the imperialists. Only the utterly garbage pseudo-Marxists with a very bad case of economism insist that the only valid class struggle is purely economic conflict, say at the factory level between Third World proletarians and imperialist country factory owners. The true followers of Marx see political struggle as even more important than the conflict at the factory level, no matter how clear-cut that conflict might be with proletarians on one side and imperialists on the other. The economist conception of class struggle in the PLP analysis for example leads unavoidably to reformism, a simple redistribution of super-profits in the case of U.$. imperialism. The PLP's concept of united front is thus economist. Instead of accepting the impurities connected with economic struggle, PLP should join MIM and take up the political united front against super-exploitation. Without the political united front playing the decisive role, economist reformism is the inevitable result, exactly what Lenin warned against in "What Is To Be Done?"
The political united front is not always producing proletarian revolution at a given moment, as even Stalin with a powerful state at his disposal proved. Yet if we keep working at it, the advantages of the international proletariat can accumulate and socialist revolutions can break out eventually, as Stalin also proved.
The trouble with "What Is To Be Done?" for our use today is that it presumes vast knowledge of history. The book argues for a political elite to lead conspiratorial struggles that would go beyond purely economic ones. When it came out, "What Is To Be Done?" did not have any great Russian examples to point to, only struggles that were less of a failure than others. However, we can also read the essay with reference points in French history, which Amerikans are already supposed to know when they leave high school. Marx and Lenin were both fans of the Jacobins.
As with the minority Jacobins, the entire American Revolution was the work of one-third of the population in the colonies. Lenin says over and over again that revolution is imposed and then the majority adjusts to the changes, and he has no truck with the ultra-democrats and some aspects of Rosa Luxemburg and her pretensions or the pretensions of her pseudo-followers among the social-democrats about non- authoritarian change; yet, Westerners are now so bourgeois that they have succeeded in bourgeoisifying not only Marx but Lenin. It is not just the social-democrats with their electoral strategy questioning MIM. Even almost all the imperialist country organizations claiming Lenin buy into electoral logic, where it is necessary to win at least 50%+1 at the expense of goals. Some alleged followers of Lenin would claim to be against electoral politics, only to be sucked in by crypto-electoral politics.
Rosa Luxemburg is among those leading us to patriotism today, because her followers would rather follow someone dead than observe their own conditions accurately. Luxemburg said in 1918 in "What Does the Spartacus League Want?":
"The socialist revolution is the first which is in the interests of the great majority and can be brought to victory only by the great majority of the working people themselves."Such platitudes are part of the Great White Majoritarian Dogma, because they were said in reference to Germany. So while Luxemburg and her comrade Liebknecht died in the course of anti-patriotic and anti- militarist struggle, today we only hear about her majoritarian and anti-Leninist observations that are even more far off-base now than they were at the time. Today, the typical DSA recruiter trying to convert would-be followers of Lenin quotes Luxemburg first before moving in for the social-democratic and openly patriotic kill.
Just like Trotsky, Luxemburg also said,
"If representatives of the proletarians of all countries could but clasp hands under the banner of Socialism for the purpose of making peace, then peace would be concluded in a few hours. Then there will be no disputed questions about the left bank of the Rhine, Mesopotamia, Egypt or colonies."That's in her document "A Call to the Workers of the World," because if we read it carefully she thought that the European workers would agree to end World War I with socialism and then free the colonies. Today there is a Trotskyist organization named after Luxemburg's and it's no surprise. These Trotskyists think we followers of Lenin and Stalin lack imagination, as if we did not know it would have been a great thing if the Europeans had ended colonialism themselves in 1918, no less. Herein lies the difference between a poet and a scientist. When the great European majority did not change its politics and colonialism continued and super-exploitation intensified, the poets went on saying the same thing as if people in the world only lacked poetic imagination, while the scientists went out looking for another vehicle of change and sought to instruct it on its self-interests and give it coaching tips for the revolutionary fight. Over time, the poets ended up providing services to imperialist patriotism, because of their ineffectiveness and lack of analysis.
One of the reasons that Bush's neo-conservative revolution is not working is that it speaks for democracy but actually mobilizes the democratic force against itself. Unlike the situation where the Americans chose between revolution or loyalty to England, Bush comes to muddy situations in such a manner that Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda win elections and opinion polls against him. Republican ideology in the Third World--to put it in red state language--is disproportionately socialist and anti-imperialist. One might guess that even had England come to the American colonists talking democracy, England still would have lost at a purely petty-bourgeois level. When we consider the Third World, we have to consider class forces behind republicanism and anti-imperialism that would make their democratic revolution more radical than the American one.
Apathy makes elite rule possible. One extreme situation is apathy plus public stupidity that creates the possibility of monarchy. In many countries, the united $tates props up monarchies, but the purely apolitical possibilities of monarchy in the united $tates are often overlooked.
Exploiter patriotism is not a thing of beauty--apartheid South Africa or the Minuteman movement being recent examples, the Nazi movement a more distant one. Thanks to our appreciation of such history, MIM is all for exploiter apathy. The rise of the gender aristocracy is a stabilizing factor for imperialism, along with the consumption of pornography. At the same time, the rise of the gender aristocracy puts a limit on what the rulers can do.
From time to time, we have the trial of the century sold by the exploiter media--O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson etc. These spectacles can be blamed in part on the gender aristocracy. Ditto the countless stories about how to interpret one womyn's affair in Saudi Arabia, whether it was rape or rape followed by an affair followed by the threat of lashings or maybe even just an affair reinterpreted as a rape to avoid lashings: we certainly do not trust a Western interpretation or the likelihood that Western journalists would really dig down into the details of such a story, with all the self-satisfied patriotism there is among Amerikans.
The ultimate political expression of the gender aristocracy is the frothy pursuit of the Taliban in the name of gender equality. It's not that the united $tates intends or is capable of bringing gender equality to Afghanistan, but the idea is surely very entertaining. On the whole, there are glimpses of gender aristocracy generated radicalism, as in radical reaction, but for the most part we see that the gender dynamic of imperialism creates and reflects political apathy. If it is at all possible, the Amerikan writings of alleged feminism are even more vacant than those of social-democracy; although, it is true that the only major social change the West has seen in the last two generations is the growth of education and professionalism among females, to the point where Amerikan females are now more educated than Amerikan males.
In any case, pseudo-feminism and pornography are stabilizing forces for imperialism that nonetheless contribute to political demobilization, perhaps even monarchism. Poor Hillary Clinton thought females would vote for her in Iowa 2008, but Obama won even that sector of the vote, because there is no great driving force in pseudo- feminism despite its occasionally terrifying rhetorical outbursts and contributions to political correctness. Pseudo-feminism's greatest practical ramification is variation in anti-crime politics. Even the pseudo-feminists' battle against beauty conformity lifestyles has lost.
Now a man outflanks Hillary Clinton on the war and diplomacy question, Obama. So then pseudo-feminism has to choose what its agenda is, why it still needs Hillary Clinton. With Clinton's vote for the Iraq War, it would appear that putting Lynndie England in Abu Ghraib was in fact the pseudo-feminist agenda. Yet it is a weak force involved and in a field of many men and a disproportionately female electorate, still Clinton did not carry the day. In sum, we want to be aware of the gender aristocracy but not overestimate its importance.
When elites of differing nations come into competition with each other, they come to realize that mobilizing the masses sometimes can be useful. Sending out the knights just connected to the royal family may not be enough to win a war.
When the tsar was considering abdicating in Russia, the jig was already up, because unlike his queen, the king really said he had no concern but his nation. So if his abdication would help in any way in World War I, the tsar said he would have to consider it. At that point, the king had played with republican fire for support. His own ideas brought on by the predicament he was in were borderline republican and the queen admonished him to return to god's authorization.
All kings would like public support. Yet it is fear and stupidity that do the most for monarchist rule. Love predicated on knowledge of a monarch's international competence is dangerous, because it is the patriotism of the exploited, a republican factor.
Nonetheless, dialectical materialism is a metaphor for certain kinds of scientific understandings, Darwin's theory of evolution being the most important one. It is a "struggle of opposites" conditioned by a third thing under control of neither of the opposites precisely. It is the third consideration that ensures that history is not circular, the way that seasons alternate for instance.
Kings backed by an alleged word of god do best with an ignorant public, but the selection process of war favors educated use of economic surplus. Like it or not, education arises and rulers face the consequences.
MIM has already argued that matriarchy in a low-surplus society fell by the wayside, because the tribes that sent females to war simply did not reproduce as well. Likewise, monarchies that did not play with republican fire found themselves at a disadvantage in war as the economic surplus grew.
When economic surplus did not allow for long distance war at all, republicanism was not relevant. With the growth of economic surplus, the possibilities of standing armies increased. Exploiters that came up with reasons to have larger armies defeated rulers without them. Those ideological reasons were variations of republicanism, including patriotisms that were not based in anti-participatory fears and ignorance.
If a ruler built a large army before the surplus allowed it, that ruler also fell from incompetence in another direction. However, the general trend of history is toward an increasing economic surplus.
Darwin taught readers how to recognize a general pattern of struggles of species and subpopulations of species conditioned on the material world. In many ways, his work is thus on par with Marx's, because both went beyond individual instances or theories of a single species or single class struggle. We could speak of "Darwinianism," but we prefer to speak of "dialectical materialism," a suggestive method of producing theories.
When patriarchies overcame matriarchies, we did not stop our analysis and instead went on to the next question of what societies or rulers would reproduce best. Class societies arose when surplus arose to fight over. Monarchies gave way to republics. Then within republicanism, ideologies arose to maximize the war-making advantages of the rulers. The intra-ruler struggle never stopped over thousands of years, but the conditions of that struggle changed over time. Dialectical materialism tells us to ask what intra-ruler variations survived over time as surplus increased and also told us to look at intra-species and inter-species variation with relationship to the physical environment. Today we yet again have to look at potential rulers and examine the inherent trajectory of classes such as the labor aristocracy that have a chance to rule.
Lenin and Stalin saw the matter of fascism as simply one of johnny-come-latelies to imperialism, needing the most militarist ideology they could come up with. The late-comers simply could not compete against the monopoly corporations of England and France without a war to open or obtain colonies. Of course, two arguments overlap--a country came late to the imperialist feast because it had overcome its agrarian elites with industrial elites too late. Now the other guys' monopolies were already entrenched around the world. The fascists sought to swallow up other imperialist factions, by among other things shutting down German social-democracy, occupying France and preparing invasion of England.
Although monarchism already existed as a reactionary ideology, Mussolini created fascist ideology after experience with Leninism and socialism generally. Fascism is a republican ideology based on the "herrenvolk." What Mussolini and Hitler saw was that among the populations of Italy and Germany it was possible to rally a staunch patriotism of the oppressor. Mussolini saw the possibilities for a striving patriotism before inventing fascism through his experience with Lenin- inspired and other leftist movements. We can say that if it were not for these movements and the cutting-edge signal they sent, perhaps Mussolini would have ended up a monarchist.
The grounds for fascism had been prepared by the patriotism of the social- democrats seen in World War I. If the social-democrats could abandon their previous positions and rally to war for colonies, the fascists would never start from an internationalist position, and thus avoid the flip-flop. Fascists would simply start where social-democrats left off. Whereas social-democrats took advantage of the false consciousness of the exploited and the genuine consciousness of the exploiter, fascism introduced a new tactical trick. While adopting the economic stances of the social-democrats on unions and standing for social-democracy's demands, only accomplished through corporatism, fascists attacked a portion of exploiters as the source of parasitism and other ills--the Jews. If there were any exploited Germans, they found themselves sidetracked by this tactic.
Had the fascists attacked all workers for their social-democratic or communist economic demands, their republicanism would have been in question. The boundary between a monarchist playing with republican fire and a fascist is not impassable. The fascists did not want to end up as monarchists, so they took up the economic demands of social-democracy and the communists. The only difference was the aggrieved patriotism of the fascists. By taking up various republican demands, the fascists sought a politics that would be the ultimate tool in war- mobilization. The gender aristocracy was not a preferred means of stabilizing imperialism for fascism: the fascists wanted females as baby factories providing soldiers; the fascists also opposed pornography as Jewish invention, because the fascists had a war drive focus and determination.
Today, we have a parallel situation when Patrick Buchanan plays on the grievances of unemployed whites who feel they are being deindustrialized because of NAFTA and GATT. On the other hand, the United $tates is on top, not the johnny-come-lately of imperialism and so Buchanan's approach currently lacks the potential to take out various imperialist factions that Hitler had. An open admirer of fascist Franco, Buchanan may have to see the U.$. economy wrecked before his main ideas receive serious play. He seems to want to wreck the economy via closing the border in order to see what economic philosophies Amerikans would take up then. Our stupid social-democrats with PhDs nonetheless rush to Buchanan's aid any chance they can by opposing globalization and NAFTA while bragging about the vaunted productivity of Amerikan workers who just need a higher minimum wage. These same social-democrats attending Noam Chomsky talks will see none of their occasionally internationalist ideas implemented but all their ideas about the domestic economy will be happily co-opted by Buchanans. For every vote for some pseudo-communist party derived from talking about unemployment, cheap imports and NAFTA, there will be 25 votes for Buchanan or his equivalent. Our left-wing of parasitism is only too dogmatic, self-satisfied and fanciful to admit that and change. If Buchanan is correct, then the liberals' winning the culture wars for Satan may create a more apathetic Amerika, one less likely to go for fascism, to which MIM says once again, the gender aristocracy has its positive points as a means of stabilizing imperialism. As long as Buchanan does not succeed in wrecking the economy too much, we can count on the self-satisfied dynamic to hold sway until the international proletariat really starts to cut off the flow of profits to the imperialist countries.
If the handful of communists in the imperialist countries allows the whites to get fascist cranky even before any socialist revolutions cut off Third World labor sources, then that is an example of dismal failure. At this stage, the task is to criticize the social-democrats and their patriotism in the imperialist countries paving the way for fascism in future imperialist crises. Their stated and unstated patriotism and faith in the Aryan race have to be driven into public view among real communists so that they will know better than to replace the stability of top-dog imperialism with the populist pillars of fascism. The relatively non-existent fascists should do their own legwork instead of having it done by Michael Moore, Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky. There is no excuse for cranky populism for whites in a top-dog imperialist country today. Those who cannot figure out when they are tapping into the white nationalism of the disgruntled petty-bourgeoisie have no business calling themselves scientific and cannot play a progressive role. That includes Bruce Springsteen.
Except in Latin America where social-democracy plays both a role in false consciousness and exploiter consciousness, on the whole social-democracy is now consigned to Europe and Japan as an expression of exploiter consciousness. The international isolation of social-democracy is to such an extent that even in the united $tates those left of Hubert Humphrey in the united $tates and right of Noam Chomsky amount to an insignificant force, easily overtaken by the people who supported the Black Panthers in the 1960s for example. In the Third World, the social-democrats are consigned to urban Liberal enclaves and the top ranks of manufacturing workers.
The majority of people supporting social-democracy have exploiter consciousness, being based in the top 20% of the world. Chile and Argentina being sometimes in the top 20 countries of the world by per capita income, we see there social- democracy and things like Peronism fill up republican space. The social- democrats of Latin America look to their brethren in Europe, especially Spain and France.
Social-democracy was originally a striving internationalism and became a striving patriotism, but as the class structure of the West changed it became a comfortable bourgeois consciousness. Republican patriotism in Europe opposed the EU Constitution, as no one from the Le Pen Right to the so-called communist Left endorsed it in France, while every single elite imperialist endorsed it. So there and in the united $tates as well sometimes, we see an internationalist elite struggling but failing to impose its fairy-tale bourgeois internationalist utopia. The latest reports at the end of 2007 said that elites would try to do an end-run around voters who had turned down increased EU centralization.
When Germany attacked France in World War II, France fell in confused collapse. The Amerikans denouncing the French over their stance on the Iraq War called the French "cheese-eating surrender monkeys," to which there is much truth, not in the parallels Amerikans drew with "appeasement." It was the French appeasing the Amerikans instead of attacking the Amerikans to stop them from crossing Iraq's border and invading a country the way Hitler crossed borders in Eastern Europe.
When France found itself somewhat reproletarianized by German occupation, the communists finally arose and started partisan warfare. There was a striving patriotism resumed on the basis of class. Once the basis for that class difference was gone again, the French and Italians no longer had any use for those communists, who became mushier and mushier in trying to appease the majority. In Vichy France, the cheese-eaters were oppressed enough to give birth to a communist armed struggle, which then dissipated with success. The French did not fight the Germans, and when they got a glimpse of secure petty-bourgeois status, they did fight the Algerians, with the aid of the fake communist party.
Samir Amin made an interesting observation on this question. The collapse of the Soviet-influenced parties in Europe after 1989 did not mean the end of communism in Europe. It actually meant the dissolution of communist parties and the collapse of social-democracy. Without the loud-mouth version of social-democracy created by pseudo-communist parties it was the social-democrats who had no fight left in them. That is the normal state of affairs for social-democracy, which has made a habit of concealing its services to the petty-bourgeoisie. The pseudo-communists do the legwork for the social-democrats and the social-democrats do the spadework for the fascists. They finally all realized it in the French anti-EU vote.
The difference between striving patriotism also came out in an argument this reviewer had with a World War II veteran over Iraq. Unlike the "out-of-the-blue" patriots who have no knowledge of any military interaction between the united $tates and the Islamic world before 9/11, this veteran knew that he had lost the argument over "appeasement," because he knew enough of the details of history. All he could say was that MIM's argument made Saddam Hussein and Iraq, the equivalent of Czechoslovakia, and Saddam was not our friend. That's about all the warmongers had, the fact that a lot of people in the world do not like Saddam Hussein. It would be like arguing Hitler was right because the leaders of Eastern Europe were even worse.
For today's "out-of-the-blue" patriots (seeing 9/11 as "out of the blue"), patriotism is just imposing alleged democracy on anyone Amerikans do not like. "My country right or wrong" also fits in with the "out-of-the-blue" temperament, because both approaches are lazy. In contrast with the World War II veteran, these "out-of-the-blue" patriots would not know the first thing about appeasement.
Some especially with Christian backgrounds might be a little embarrassed that it is now the united $tates responsible for religious war in Iraq on a scale that Saddam Hussein did not have to attempt. Even that embarrassment would be mostly among striving patriots, as the "out-of-the-blue" comfortable-with-themselves- patriots, the narcissists that Johnston pointed to will just assume that the leaders of Iraq are now associated with torture and religiously inspired executions for reasons having nothing to do with Amerikan greatness. If there is any hope that the "out-of-the-blue" patriots will have to recede, it is the sacrifice of Amerikan life in Iraq day-in and day-out. It is what makes it possible for a middle third of Amerikans to think that something inept must have happened to end up in what the media tells them is a religious war. If Amerikans were not dying there, the "out-of-the-blue" patriots would not care at all about the religious wars Bush set off. Now to some extent a portion of Amerikans have no choice but "to get it" that something bad political happened there and still isn't fixed, but they would not have noticed except for the killings of U.$. troops.
Overall, population-wise, fascism is a movement of the imperialist countries, a kind of exploiter republicanism like social-democracy. People in the Third World who genuinely like Somoza, Marcos etc. for their own sake should probably be termed monarchists, or in the case of Nepal, theocrats and monarchists. Calling them fascists as MIM was once apt on occasion following Chomsky and others is incorrect, because rarely do these reactionaries really have any root or connection to finance capital. There are fascists and then there are legions of their dupes. "Islamo- fascism" is a complete contradiction in terms, because there is no imperialism behind it now that Iran, the Taliban, Hezbollah etc. are too independent for imperialist likings.
The fascist rampage requires a big economic surplus to send out a big body of troops to alter the intra-imperialist pecking order. The surplus has to be large because fascism is republican, not just a matter of sending out a few skilled knights. That is the reason that fascism is restricted to imperialist countries and their lackeys, where the finance stage of capitalism has been achieved. Fascism mobilizes a huge scale of surplus to go into battle. Minority pro- feudal or pro-capitalist regimes in the Third World should be called monarchist or U.$. puppet regimes or in some cases, outright colonies. The most authoritarian and reactionary of these rulers are making no contributions to the "Coalition" occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, with the exception of El Salvador. The contributions these reactionaries can make to war-mobilization are small compared with the real fascists or even just the Martin Luther King wing of empire that brings Salvadorans to the united $tates and turns them into cannon-fodder.
The exploited who know not of their principal economic enemies or even how exploitation comes about can fall victim to patriotism. The Europeans had this problem in World War I, but history quickly generated suspicions that European peoples are not exploited. Thus World War I can also be interpreted as a kind of republican exploitation movement that felled the Russian monarchy and other monarchical vestiges for being inefficient in grabbing for colonies--a process of survival of the fittest exploiters.
Whatever qualms we might have about characterizing World War I as a republican exploitation movement, because of the false consciousness of allegedly exploited workers, World War II was definitely a republican exploitation movement by the bottom-of-the-heap imperialists. By way of note, we should understand that had European workers been highly Islamic in an Al Qaeda or Hezbollah way, they might not have had World War I. The patriotism of World War I was the worst sort, not the patriotism of a Palestine against the united $tates.
The Darwinian social selection of exploiter rulers seen in World War I would have continued along its path except for Lenin's intervention. Lenin's intervention allowed for the proletariat to become a factor in selection. Despite Lenin's intervention, the republican exploitation movement continued in World War II. Here the patriotism of the exploiters was so bad it was good: they destroyed themselves to such an extent that Stalin created a socialist bloc and the colonies saw the grip of the mother countries loosened. The limit on the Darwinian social selection process and hence the limits of fascist republicanism is the exploited. In Russia and eastern Europe we had a proletariat ripe for revolution and willing to play with a completely different dynamic. The republicanism and patriotism of the exploited vanquished the ultimate warmongering republicanism--fascism.
Today, the way that the united $tates limits johnny-come-lately fascism is by copying the communists in some places, such as the Occupation rule of Japan after World War II. Even more importantly, fascist nationalism is limited by having its financial roots cut off. The u.$. imperialists allow for European and Japanese financiers to invest in the U.$. empire, unlike the previous situation prior to World War II, where mother countries restricted competitor operations in the colonies. Thus bottom-dog nationalism finds fewer takers among the financial elite and instead a bourgeois internationalism is reinforced, with some few exceptions. Even with U.$. sanctions on Cuba, Korea, Libya, Iraq etc. sometimes the other imperialists find a way around the U.$. imperialists and in any case, whatever profits the united $tates is obtaining by these restrictions are also available for sharing by European (including Russian) and Japanese capital. If there is any doubt, it is only with regard to Russian capital and its ability to invest in Western economic spheres. There is some continued tension between sending capital abroad and investing Russian money as if an Anglo-Saxon and investing from a country where the corporations are still under Russian governmental regulation.
With the growth of the economic surplus, the exploiters turned to republicanism to run their war machines. If they did not, they simply lost out to other exploiters, thus a dialectical mechanism at work. When the surplus reached a sufficient point, war became as fearsome as in World War II. At that point, fortunately there was a proletarian limit on colony-grabbing. If the Soviet Union did not arise, the United $tates might have continued with colonial blocs as before. Instead, the rise of the Soviet Union put a premium on capitalist unity. The individual monarchists had been weeded out of potential imperial power. Now the whole capitalist system was under threat of being weeded out by a Darwinian selection process and the capitalists turned to unity against Stalin, with trade negotiation after trade negotiation that favored the Western Europeans, Taiwan and $outhern Korea at U.$. expense. Thus was globalization and Negri and Hardt's "empire" born.
At the moment, the system's war potential centers between those controlling finance capital and those who do not. Kim Jong Il's struggle to get his $25 million from Macau was an example. Various laws simply made it impossible for him to transfer money around the world. Saudi millionaire Bin Laden's struggle is another that shows that increasingly the fault lines are between those who control the international financial system and the capitalists and their peoples who do not.
The truth of Lenin's theory of imperialism has deepened and become more important than when Lenin came up with it. Those with control of the financial system came up with imperialist republicanism via the labor aristocracy.
The deluded of the West said that Mao's Three Worlds strategy was wrong, because they believed they are still exploited and better allies than Saddam Hussein, Pinochet and Osama Bin Laden. Yet today, capitalists have no choice in the Third World but republicanism or defeat. Some capitalists will simply capitulate to U.$. lackey status while their peoples suffer. They should be attacked for their cultural degradation and lack of patriotism. In the pornography film "Bolero" (1984), Bo Derek travels to the Arab world and sees stereotypical men on horses carrying guns for jihad. She meets a sheikh. Eventually we learn his English is fine, and in fact, he is an Oxford-educated poet who has only been to his Arabian desert three times.
Thus the deal of becoming an Amerikan is open to the sheikh. He is allowed access to Bo Derek. Later, Bo Derek seduces another man, whose previous girlfriend calls her an "Amerikan bitch," which might be a metaphor for the world's reaction to Hollywood and the gender aristocracy. Some of the Arab countries are also parasite countries, too small to have any business but living off oil. The empire allows them outlet as honorary Amerikans, but the difference is that their reference points will not conform to those Amerikans used to living among the labor aristocracy as their reference points. In fact, political leaders come from among those of the national bourgeoisie caught between two worlds. MIM fights for these "men of the middle," who might realize why Amerikan patriotism does not work for his home country or region. Underlying this question and why Bo Derek is not the same for a sheikh as for an Amerikan, the land as pointed to by Stalin is still a factor in the sheikh's thinking.
Mao's strategy did not say there would not be U.$. lackeys. He merely said that we should aid the Third World struggle against the imperialists, regardless of the individuals leading. Mao's Three Worlds strategy comes under attack from the labor aristocracy parties and their dupes, because of outdated ideas about who is exploited and who is not. These labor aristocracies also spread Liberal fallacies by mistaking Chile's leaders for Chile's overall interests.
Saddam Hussein was not going to send out some knights to defeat the U.$. invasion. He would have no choice but republican ideologies to defeat the imperialists. Bin Laden also counseled Maoist warfare tactics instead of frontal conflict along the lines of U.$. choice. Yet in a country like Iraq, republican strategies inevitably mobilize the exploited politically. There are not enough exploiters in the Third World countries to wage a war effectively by just rallying exploiters.
Once mobilized, the exploited have an interest in democracy, republicanism and socialism. Whether they know it or not, they also have an interest in proletarian internationalism or their approximations such as Pan-Africanism and pan-Islamism.
We should also connect the Three Worlds strategy to Mao's theory of continuous revolution. The white nationalists in their Trotskyist and Hoxhaite guises objected to the Three Worlds strategy because they denied the exploiter status of the imperialist country majorities as politically implied by Lin Biao. In addition, they failed to see that thus far in history no one has managed to remove socialist leaderships from capitalist structural positions. Lenin and Mao simply mobilized the exploited sufficiently that they could safeguard their interests better than in other countries. It did not change the fact that people in the position of Lenin or Mao would be targets of imperialist bribes and capable of appropriating labor toward bourgeois ends if no one paid enough attention to stop them.
Once we have admitted this truth about the dictatorship of the proletariat and the socialist transition as it actually exists, that socialism's leaders are already structurally capitalist and at best undertake a perilous journey as hostages of the proletariat, the Three World's strategy is not so ugly. It amounts to saying that the exploited are not yet mobilized in most countries, but in many countries, a portion of the bourgeoisie has no choice but to mobilize the exploited, especially the bourgeoisie that values any national or Islamic independence. Like it or not, these independence-minded capitalists are more in the proletarian camp than the capitalist camp, even class struggle- wise, because they must mobilize the exploited, and the best way is no longer with theocratic monarchy but with republican ideas that serve the exploited's interests. In countries like Germany, Italy and Japan during World War II where finance capital was already playing a role, mobilization of the populations was along reactionary oppressor nationalist lines. In the colonies and ex- colonies of Latin America, Africa and Asia called the Third World, conflict with imperialism is best won through republican ideologies mobilizing the exploited. The threat of U.$. invasion limiting Third World capitalists' independence is balanced only by the retaliation that the Third World country's population is capable of. That is how political class struggle really happens today, mediated through political institutions led by capitalists, even in the case of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The key political struggles of the day for the proletariat are all mediated by capitalists. Attempts to get around this with the kibbutz, grocery cooperatives and councilism have all degenerated into petty-bourgeois consumerism, a prop of Liberalism. Political regulation of multinational corporations exploiting Third World workers always occurs through bourgeois institutions at this stage of history where we have seen 20th century attempts at socialism and where there is still imperialism. The attempt to focus on the factory-level conflict to get around bourgeois political mediation at this point in history is economist in the manner that Lenin explained. The best we can do is take "bourgeois intellectuals" as Lenin called them in the vanguard party to mediate these conflicts politically in a dictatorship of the proletariat. Most class struggle as it happens does not have even that benefit. It occurs through trade bodies connected to GATT for instance; thus, we can ridicule the Luxemburgists and other ultra-democrats and libertarians for knocking the Leninists as if class struggle occurred anywhere in better circumstances than what the Leninists managed. The cheap poetry of the Luxemburgists, social-democrats and libertarians leads to opportunist denial.
In World War I, the capitalists manipulated the people of Europe into war for colonies by using patriotism. Today, the finance-stage capitalists are more internationalist than the labor aristocracy populations of the imperialist countries. The reason is that the "third condition" referred to in this essay's explanation of dialectical materialism changed. Today there is no question that the main participant populations of World War I have been bourgeoisified, even beyond what they were at the time. Now it is the finance capitalists who are a tad more international-minded than the populations of their respective home countries.
The imperialists try to manipulate their populations for a tad more internationalism of a Disney-style watered down kind. Indeed, the labor aristocracy does not object to imperialism, but "globalization." Therefore, the labor aristocracy becomes the vanguard force of patriotism, and a potential mass base for fascism. The elite imperialist leaders of the French social-democracy favored EU centralization, but the social- democratic voters opposed it. The imperialists are the ones most for relaxed border controls to speed up business and take advantage of soft power dynamics, while the labor aristocracy is happy to choke the economy in a vengeful chauvinism against migrants and foreign businesspeople.
Many anti-militarists, libertarians and social-democrats are now confused by Rosa Luxemburg's claimed opposition to all nationalism combined with staunch anti-militarist struggle. It has given rise to Noam Chomsky's and the late Edward Said's opposition to Palestinian armed struggle, which they want replaced with binational socialist struggle. In actual fact then and despite rhetoric contrary, it is possible to take a white nationalist stance via Luxemburg who even more than Trotsky centered on the revolutionary capabilities of European workers. The fact that Luxemburg and various followers appear to denounce "all nationalism" in rhetoric hides the fact that not all nationalism has the same class content. Also the nationalism of the oppressed nation is not the same as the nationalism of the U.$. imperialists. In fact, the original premise of these PLP, Trotsky and Luxemburg theories against all nationalism was an imminent uprising of European workers who would make nationalism by the colonies unnecessary by freeing the colonies-- something that obviously did not happen. The problem is that though nothing of any European-centered social revolution freeing colonies happened, activists continue following dead leaders like Luxemburg because Luxemburgism and Trotskyism have ended up as backdoor patriotisms. Today's followers and admirers of Luxemburg know nothing of the original economic premises behind Luxemburgism that are definitely no longer true. They only know that Rosa Luxemburg was not Lenin and hence also unconnected to Stalin.
There is a kind of patriotism of the exploited which is false consciousness. This fact has often been emphasized at the expense of knowing the difference between a proletarian and a bourgeois. Before one can discuss false consciousness and strategy connected to it, one must know the difference between exploiter and exploited. Today, proletarian false consciousness shows up wherever Mao's Three Worlds approach is not followed in its most important aspects. So we see intra-Third World conflicts along national lines that have nothing to do with class. The Iran-Iraq war often had participants hoping to march on to I$rael to liberate the Palestinians. That this Iran-Iraq war was not going to accomplish that was not known to those with false consciousness. So Iraqi and Iranian nationalism were not good things--when directed at each other. Mao's Three Worlds strategy straightened out this problem and pointed the spear at u.$. imperialism. The Western exploiters disguised as Marxists only attacked the Mao strategy for letting the national bourgeoisie off the hook, because these phony Marxists believed that the so-called workers in imperialist countries were exploited, and not an undifferentiated mass of exploiters as they actually were. So today we find that most phony Marxists cannot see any class content in a conflict between the united $tates and Iran for example. To them, both countries are majority proletarian.
In the united $tates, the equivalent of an Iranian striving to find a way to help out in Jerusalem is missing. There is a whole level of striving patriotism that has been eliminated except for use by quirky educated elites, not for the 80% of the population.
Ron Paul is tapping into striving patriotism, an outdated patriotism because of the level of surplus in U.$. society. With so much surplus around that it is possible to run a $2 or $4 trillion war, the pressures against libertarianism become too great. There is only a question of how to appropriate surplus to reduce the repressive forces needed over the long haul. We see appropriating the surplus to eliminate classes and the need for class repression as more realistic than harking back to the lower-surplus days when the state was small. Communism includes the Liberal utopia, but it is a path to that utopia with the strategy of eliminating classes. A small state can be achieved by wrecking the economy or by adjusting social relations so that repression is unnecessary. Communists have the latter strategy.
Libertarianism as a capitalist utopia is a self-defeating utopia, because if it were based in reality, the bourgeoisie would already exist that would have an interest in seizing money from private consumers instead of government contracts. If libertarian theory were true, the bourgeoisie would have seized the economic surplus of society before the government spent it, but that did not happen. The growth of government expenditure is proof of the invalid real-world assumptions of libertarianism. The imperialist bourgeoisie is out of gas, with no attractive non-government projects with which to inspire the existence of a smaller government. It's all fine and good to speak of the merit of entrepreneurs, and even consider entrepreneurs as a candidate for being the revolutionary class, but the fact is that they have not delivered attractions sufficient to derail the state-building project. It's a lot easier to derail the state-building project when the surplus is small, when there is no way in hell that financiers would loan out the trillions for a war, for example. In countries that do not massively exploit other ones the way the united $tates makes use of Chinese labor for instance, a movement has a better chance for a small state.
It's not just that Ron Paul needs a political movement to overcome so-called statists, but by the logic of libertarianism, entrepreneurs should have won the battle economically before there was a political movement necessary. People who want to give entrepreneurs money for solar panels do not want their money to go to the government, but entrepreneurs failed to deliver such inspiration at a purely economic or consumer level. For many questions it seems that the government is more likely to serve as a non-biased consumer to sort out problems created by entrepreneurial competition. Solar panels end up installed in the Pentagon and White House before they are installed by private consumers. So libertarianism lacks a social vehicle of change. The situation is so bad that it is in fact the consumer buying the SUVs and avoiding Japanese cars such as Toyota and Honda with such a racism that government regulation is necessary in the auto industry in order to prevent further bloated growth in the military to secure oil supplies. This again is the failure of individual consumers and the auto entrepreneurs who do not find a great enough thrill in reducing oil consumption and thus the Middle East wars that make trillion dollar wars possible. The libertarians should look at what we anti-Amerikans have accomplished and make a judgment about who has a more realistic political sociology.
Neo-conservatives associated with the president argued that 9/11 was "out of the blue," because in fact, the vast apathetic majority perceived it that way. So in fact, some of the most strident patriots available telling people to "watch what they say" after 9/11 condoned a vast ignorance of the U.$. role in the world--laziness. It's a mainstream-appropriate-American-Idol-patriotism. (The neo-Nazis did not see 9/11 the same way, but only the highly quirky are neo-Nazis in the united $tates.) It was a striking admission that striving patriotism is absent in the U.$. scene. There is only comfortable patriotism, the kind that says Amerikans are the best already and need only get other countries to copy them. Mussolini wanted war as the way to improve the humyn condition in a Darwinian way. He also wanted exploiter and oppressor patriotism, but the difference is that representing an imperialism without many colonies, without global domination, Mussolini's was a striving patriotism, not a comfortable one.
It takes quite a spectacle to involve the Amerikan public in politics now. Naomi Klein has stated this in reverse with reference to "shock capitalism." The natural dynamic of the labor aristocracy and gender aristocracy in a decadent country might very well lead to monarchism via the route of apathy. The need to fight other exploiters is a perverse reason monarchy does not return in the imperialist countries, and instead, fascism is still a threat. One measure of this question is how much money it takes to recruit the all-volunteer army for Iraq and Afghanistan. The draft (or occupation as in Vichy France) is the only way that proletarian politics arises in an exploiter country like the united $tates, so the rulers are looking at ways to rally people without the draft. Perhaps the rulers have fantasies that unmanned drones can do the job of war and further decrease the need for republican ideologies such as striving patriotism. The rulers are finding that when the labor aristocracy gets increasing college education and an ability to participate in politics, the anti-migrant movement is the result. In actual fact, none of the imperialists except for Tancredo and Hunter really oppose increasing the migrant role in the u.$. economy, but imperialists find themselves parrying labor aristocracy activism while trying to come up with a strategy to mobilize people for what the imperialists really want.
Charles Graner and Lynndie England of Abu Ghraib are really exactly where U.$. imperialism is right now--equality for females and pornographic torture. There is little striving patriotism, because there cannot be with everyone bourgeois. When Amerikans go to war, they have to entertain themselves with the gender aristocracy dynamic they brought from home. Yet the countries that the united $tates invades do not have the requisite labor aristocracy and gender aristocracy to just copy what Lynndie England does and obtain self-satisfied democracy that way, so even the copy-me democracy movement has no prospects of success. Democracy does not come about as a cultural copying movement but by structural change first.
One of the best examples of this that we can examine in Johnston-like fashion is Chile. With the U.$. overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973, the student can look at various priorities. There is the freedom to make profit, as the U.$. copper companies had. There is democracy, self-determination and there is U.$. national interest or patriotism. Overthrowing Allende increased the freedom of U.$. companies to make profit and so could also be seen as patriotic action by the U.$. government. On the other hand it came at the expense of Chile's democracy and self-determination. Allende had won an election and so Chile's ability to decide its own future was at stake. Patriotism in Chile was to oppose the capitalists and Amerikkkan patriots. That's at the level of values, which values are prioritized. At the level of how the world works, the student should notice that democracy is not necessarily able to defend itself against imperialism. To defend democracy in Chile required a communist movement, a communist-led armed struggle against imperialism. It did not happen and Chile got a military dictatorship backed by Uncle $am.
Recalibrating the 20th century politically
MIM has spent much time recalibrating Marxism economically, because the West corrupted Marxism to become another ideology of the exploiter. It's a testament of how bourgeois Anglo-Amerikan imperialism is that it managed to make Marxism bourgeois. Marxism in the hands of the Third World intellectual still has a bright future. The proletariat Marx saw at the barricades in Europe is no more in Europe, but various delusional people did not notice. Now, we also need political recalibration.
In two words, "parasitism" and "decadence," Lenin boiled down the class and national questions respectively. All those calling for more appropriation by the exploiters are on the Global Right. Those calling for more national domination by the oppressor are also on the Global Right.
On the point of national domination, it is worth pointing out that what Amerikans call right-wing anti-Amerikanism is a misnomer. Cultural opposition to U.$. imperialism exists from right-wing forces within the united $tates who at their extremes want pornography cut back and Hollywood's wings clipped. That these are right-wing forces by Liberal standards does not make the even more extreme versions of that same cultural movement in the Third World right-wing. Rather the class and national struggle against U.$. imperialism simply takes various cultural forms.
When Stalin said that a nation has a culture and psychology and that some are oppressed and the rest are oppressor nations, he did not say that all the oppressed nations would have the same culture or attitude toward culture. To put this in Amerikan language, Stalin and Sultan-Galiyev rather expected that communists would be socially conservative in the oppressed nations while still promoting the equality of wimmin.
In the imperialist countries there is no choice but the direct transition to the socialist future from a state of decadence, and because there is no socialist vehicle, cultural values are stuck in a more or less constant state of churning. There is no feminist revolutionary vehicle and hence not much of any feminist theory. Outsiders can see that--that there is really no coherence in Amerika's alleged feminism, which is not surprising because Amerikans are individualists, not really people to look at for an idea about group- level change. In the oppressed nations for the immediate future, we are more likely to see moves toward equality of wimmin, but combined with strong family ties.
The most sinister Global Rightists are not Third World people denouncing Amerika's cultural decadence, but those pretending that exploiters are exploited. It is well known that Nazism saw the Aryan Race as all-deserving. What needs examination is tricky backdoors to patriotism. Trotskyism has not brought about a single decolonization or revolution against exploitation since Lenin died in 1924. Quite the contrary, Trotskyism everywhere sought to split the Global Left. De facto or "objectively speaking," Trotskyism is a feudal ideology, because it did nothing to overcome feudalism in the Third World except spread fallacies that held back the anti-feudal movement. The typical Trotskyist meeting on the Middle East emphasizes the veil and could well be a Pentagon training session on Liberal values used to justify Amerikan super-exploitation. By contrast, Jacobinism was more advanced than post-1924 Trotskyism. That is political recalibration number one.
By contrast with the feudal ideology of Trotskyism, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is associated with various bourgeois revolutions that brought real progress. These bourgeois revolutions had significant Jacobin components and components that went beyond Jacobinism in proletarian interests. It was the followers of Lenin who brought the greatest glimmerings of socialism in world history, but they should not be embarrassed when the ultra-leftists and Trotskyists say that their revolutions were mostly bourgeois, because the effect of ultra-leftism and Trotskyism has been feudal. Today the world remains one half peasant and there is a grave political crisis on how to advance two or three billion peasants. If we are going to be afraid of the word "bourgeois" when we are dealing with peasants, we are going to clear the road to genocide, as imperialism's de facto solution for things it cannot understand, as witnessed in the Vietnam War.
Such a determination is not made by listening to alleged intentions of the activists. We look at historical effects and the actual economic position of the people whose demands they represent.
The followers of Stalin and Mao put new capitalists in power and managed to keep them hostages of the proletariat for a generation. The Soviet Union and China went further into socialism than any of the Jacobins dreamed. Nonetheless, so far, in this era of imperialism, no one has managed to do without imperialism structurally. It is important to understand this point to be done with petty- bourgeois opportunism. The opportunists adopt a political pose as if they have done better than others when in fact they have done worse in practice. Opportunists criticize what is true for everyone as if it were true for only those they criticize, instead of noting real differences in practice.
The Global Left starts with Noam Chomsky and exists to his left. In practice his work centers on internationalism. Had his work focussed on his analysis of the U.$. class structure, it would be mostly on the Global Right. Such a combination of views is typical of the petty-bourgeoisie. In another day, Rosa Luxemburg embodied this contradiction politically.
The petty-bourgeois Christopher Hitchens gives a salute to Rosa Luxemburg in the same manner that all social-democrats now attack Lenin and he is well within the boundaries of the Global Right, his call for a war crimes trial for Kissinger offset by Hitchens's celebration of the Iraq War for democracy. The petty-bourgeoisie prioritizes process over political content, so it would rather see a revolutionary process of view expression than unity behind a leader such as Lenin. For the petty-bourgeoisie, class unity is not an urgent life-and-death matter. For it, the idea that one persyn could possibly express enough of a class's interests is completely foreign. In contrast, the proletariat does not win one-on-one fights. It must unite or suffer defeat. Libertarian expression is not first and foremost. Unity around proletarian demands is first and foremost.
Libertarian expression comes first and foremost for the petty-bourgeoisie, because it does not need unity to advance its class interests. Pluralism leaves the bourgeoisie in place. These pluralists labeled libertarians or post- modernists are dangerous to the international proletariat, because they can come with proletarian camouflage.
For the typical Western petty-bourgeois, the fact that there has to be a dividing line between exploiter and exploited somewhere and a nation either has to be advancing or decadent is just something Lenin, one individual said. The petty-bourgeoisie finds it more important who Lenin is and his persynal motivations for talking about exploitation and decadence than the actual substance of the questions affecting billions of people. The idea that if there are two questions with two stands possible making a possible four combined possibilities to divide billions of people politically is simply unimaginable to these Liberals, so caught up are they in the trivial.
The socialist revolutions of the 20th century did not fail because they failed to take up Trotskyism or Luxemburgism. The Trotskyist movements also failed. The Sandinistas were the closest thing to Luxemburgism and they did not advance land reform as far as the followers of Stalin did. In other words, the Sandinistas were not as good at bourgeois revolution as the followers of Stalin. In any case, no one can seriously claim that the liberty and election-minded Sandinistas accomplished socialism.
So what we are dealing with is a structural reality. It has nothing to do with the fact that centralism can lead to the rule of one man like Stalin or Mao. Countless mealy-mouthed have-it-both-ways petty-bourgeois movements also failed in El Salvador, Chile, Nicaragua, South Africa etc.
There was in fact nothing anyone could do that a persyn in Khruschev's shoes would be subject to imperialist bribery. Pretending otherwise is opportunism.
That meant that structurally, the leaders of the socialist revolution would be imperialist in an ex-imperialist country like Russia of the October Revolution, 1917. In other countries, a leader of socialist revolution might not be imperialist but at minimum would have to be capitalist, because structurally the possibility existed for bribes that would make it possible for such a leader or his family not to work. The word "structurally" means "whether one likes it or not."
Whatever a leader's intentions in the world, the fact is the U.$. imperialists would pay millions or billions to obtain a Gorbachev or Yeltsin. Decentralizing an alleged socialist movement as Tito did also did not succeed in evading this point--far from it. Imperialists can divide their bribes and also divide-and-conquer. It is in fact the imperialists who benefit from dividing the non-imperialist world into small nation-states. It is the proletariat that needs various geopolitical excuses--Mao's Three Worlds strategy, pan-Arabism, pan- Islamism--to unite. Why not? The imperialists come up with their patriotic excuses for the proletariat to slaughter itself as in World War I. It's about time we had some excuses to unite.
When Mao said that political line was decisive in keeping a country from going capitalist, because socialism is fragile, he alluded to structural reality. The proletariat has to know how to hold its leaders politically hostage to a necessary degree to have socialism. Beyond preventing spies from delivering bribes, the proletariat has to be able to recognize when its interests are being implemented. In the imperialist countries we have only begun the latter task.
Again, thanks to Stalin and Mao, we obtained much more experience in these matters than the Jacobins of the French Revolution of 1789 ever saw. So Stalin and Mao represented advance. Nonetheless, most of the advance was connected to bourgeois anti-colonial revolutions.
These bourgeois revolutions are still going on in the world and can use international Jacobin aid. Those that define their problem as delivering socialist revolution by exploiters in the imperialist countries are undercutting what is possible. What we need is solidarity with anti-feudal forces in the Third World. Some quirky bourgeois people can assist in this matter. There is no Amerikan proletariat to assist with this matter, so we shall have to settle for internationalist Jacobinism.
Opportunism today involves denial of the structural realities facing socialism. Our opportunist opponents say that socialism merely failed because of our authoritarian tendencies that gave Stalin and Mao "absolute power." They say this while failing to point out where their petty-bourgeois politics brought socialism. That is what makes their charge opportunist. Had we put Rosa Luxemburg in charge in place of Stalin, the imperialists would have still sought to bribe her and had she had decentralized power, we have Tito and the Sandinistas to point to as proof that she would not have gotten as far as Stalin did with socialism.
In the original conception of Marxism, opportunism was denying the revolutionary potential of the European working class and underestimating what it could do. Rosa Luxemburg in particular had a bad case of Eurocentrism. Such an approach to opportunism made sense when the workers were at the barricades in 1848, Marx's day, maybe in Luxemburg's day too. Today such an approach to opportunism used against Stalin is itself opportunism. It is pissing on the more advanced on behalf of the less advanced.
Luxemburg's and Chomsky's domestic line become a petty-bourgeois libertarianism of the Right simply by failure to adjust. Their opportunism is clear in not being able to name something that advanced socially beyond what Stalin and Mao accomplished. Chomsky's mention of Spanish anarchism is a feeble afterthought without a thorough comparison with advance in China, which started in more backward conditions. Chomsky's not serious, because in the end he is more moralist than scientist.
Today, the followers of the combined European pseudo-Left who give rise to most published (and sold) books on politics are less numerous than Osama Bin Laden's Pakistan admirers alone. This is another aspect of political recalibration. The Global Left starts at Chomskyian internationalist moralism and proceeds to the clarity of MIM and the two words "parasitism" and "decadence." Without this analysis, some can as Christopher Hitchens claim to be "left," and some can as neo- conservatives claim to be "revolutionary" and "democratic" and for "freedom," but they all support the Iraq War, thus proving their Global Right bona fides, relabeling decadence and oil parasitism as "democracy." It is the people with the faith in their imperialist countries, their herrenvolk, their "workers," their white race, their Bruce Springsteen fans--who put Charles Graner and Lynndie England in Abu Ghraib.
In Venezuela and the world more generally a guy like Chavez has a chance, even in an election. So does Hamas or even Osama Bin Laden if it were allowed. Amerikans are unable to see that because of their bourgeois eyeglasses. What they call "left" would not be in other countries, not in cultural terms and not in economic terms. When Amerikans go to other countries, they imagine their economic lagging is from not copying the united $tates and its "democracy," when in fact economic lagging is caused by exploitation and U.$. support for antiquated or unpopular rulers. In the name of "democracy," Amerikans impose a lack of independence and bring patriotism to the side of the Left.
When we understand that this pattern is true not just for Vietnam or Venezuela but for the Third World as a whole, we have accomplished most of the purpose of proletarian internationalism. When there is a risk that proletarian internationalism will cause too much damage to U.$. interests, the united $tates has only one move--bourgeois internationalism, which rests on a slender reed of support at home, where the labor aristocracy would like to close the borders both to people and cheap imports.
MIM's policy on this labor aristocracy versus imperialist conflict is generally to support the bourgeois internationalists against the labor aristocracy, to ward off fascism both in the united $tates and perhaps even more importantly, among U.$. competitors. If the united $tates decides to go for economic isolationism and allows retrogression to colonial-style blocs for trade, the risks for fascist inter- imperialist war increase. We do not take at face-value those calling for both economic and political isolationism for the united $tates, because such Amerika-firsters play with fire. We support only political isolationism, non-interference in the independent affairs of other nations.
The Nazis were the end-of-the-road for exploiter patriotism. They succeeded in mobilizing a proletarian internationalist alliance plus other imperialists against themselves. We're all for Russians' joining the GATT and then going on to the final struggle of capitalism's existence between the imperialists and the Third World proletariat on a global scale.
As time goes on, there is a danger that imperialists may forget the lessons the communists taught them in World War I and World War II about what happens when they go to restrictive blocs instead of allowing each other freedom to invest and trade. Democrats spew rhetoric against globalization and Republicans spew rhetoric against migrants to take advantage of labor aristocracy economic isolationism. We're also not sure what will happen to the Chinese, Russians, Koreans and Saudis who wish an equal role in the financial system, whether the system can take in more imperialists. The anti-globalization movement in the West is perched precariously. We need to win it to anti-imperialism and away from patriotism, but instead the activists fan the flames of patriotism, often while denying doing so.
The material forces underlying U.$. patriotism
The Western labor aristocracy correctly suspects that a U.$. street- sweeper using the same broom as one in India yet making 30 times more money than the Indian street-sweeper has some debt to patriotism, love of country to the point of favoring its people economically. The imperialists have argued that economic competition is good for Amerikans, but this is an argument that they are in constant danger of losing.
Nonsense about technology or capital investment's superpowers is stripped out when we take the issue down to one of what Marx called "simple labor." When we compare people working with brooms in India and the united $tates, we get around the questions about who is using better machinery or more capital. The fact that major cities use heavy machinery to sweep the streets does not change the fact that cities and towns also employ steet-sweepers with brooms. Here we speak of the Santa Monica street-sweeper taking care of a park or beach-front entertainment area.
For the labor aristocracy, patriotism means closing the borders to economic competition, so that street-sweepers in imperialist countries can go on being 10 or more times better off than street-sweepers in the Third World. The bourgeois internationalists are left in the position of saying that giving other businesspeople the same chances is good for Amerikans, because competition is good for Amerikans and their productivity.
In a similar way, the pacifist movement has always failed in asserting that peace is not just good for the other guy. Pacifists, bourgeois internationalists and libertarians all have that drawback of making arguments that are one step removed. In contrast, there was nothing one step removed about the proletarian internationalist alliance that arose to deal with Hitler.
Pseudo-Marxists sold their internationalist soul to the devil of capital by opening a backdoor to patriotism. They never spoke of the simple labor question in international context, no matter how much MIM objected. Like the capitalists, the pseudo-Marxists argued that increased productivity comes out of nowhere. To the capitalists since Marx's day, capital itself "contributes" to production. Likewise, for the pseudo-Marxist-backdoor-patriots, Western education contributes to production through Western productivity; even though, education is nothing but the feeding and clothing of people who take time off from work for the maximum amount of education. Education then is an investment subject to the same arguments as other forms of capital, but our pseudo-Marxists tried to fudge the question. They have been additionally exposed by the comparison of salaries today between Indian engineers and U.$. engineers. This question cannot go unanswered forever.
Bourgeois internationalists such as Clinton sought to sidestep the conflict between patriotism and bourgeois internationalism by emphasizing that Amerikans should be college-educated. Thus, for a Democratic Party-style patriot, the patriotism comes in using the state to give an advantage to the least-educated U.$. citizens so that they will abandon street-sweeping jobs and let migrants do those simple labor jobs that cheap imports cannot replace. European imperialists also generally focus on winning the industries and top jobs as their concession to patriotism. So a substantial faction of bourgeois internationalists was never willing to go whole hog with the benefits of international competition argument. They still sought only to compete in some areas.
The underlying material basis for the bourgeois internationalist means of fudging the economic competition question is coming under attack as China and India provide large quantities of skilled labor, particularly in the hard sciences and engineering. This was always inevitable as long as the species survived, because the growth of economic surplus means (the forces of production in another style of argument) an increasing portion of the world is to be highly educated. This is an important dialectical materialist metaphor for our time: the growth of economic surplus has exposed the possibility that Amerikans will not be able to hide their privileges with references to technological education.
Paul Samuelson is only one of many leading economists who have recently had to abandon decades of dogma about free trade. Hillary Clinton made a reference to Samuelson on this point in the midst of the 2008 campaign. These economists have indirectly realized that MIM is correct, that other countries have now reached the point where they can outcompete the united $tates in all categories. As long as education was limited relative to the demand for it in the economy, because of a low level of economic surplus globally, the imperialists could have a means of fudging whether they were improving the global division of labor or doing a patriotic service, because there was no distinction when it came time to boosting the percentage of engineers in society.
At the moment, the way this question shows up most starkly is the value of the dollar. For old arguments about free trade and the division of labor to come back to dominance, the dollar would have to collapse. At that point, the Western academy's Establishment economists realized they had to throw in the towel. The jig is up for free trade and the U.$. standard of living. As in the Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain has been exposed.
For some more years, the 1992-style campaign of Bill Clinton will linger on with some bromides about getting Amerikans educated. Tumult is inevitable though and it is our duty as communists to help the bourgeois internationalists hold the line against fascism. In our favor is demography, the age profile of the West. Otherwise, there would be considerable concern about globalization protesters of today giving way to clear-cut brown-shirters.
The third material factor in the class struggle that is changing is the level of productive forces, in this case the extent of education in the global economy. Another temporary fix that economists used as MIM pointed out in its 1997 book on the class structure is racism. The economists will attempt to argue that the U.$. computer engineer is innately better somehow than the equivalently educated Chinese or Indian engineer and that is what accounts for the U.$. living standard. Of course, these economists will have to sidestep the simple labor question and how it is connected to the overvaluation of the dollar, the parameter of one ratio (wage ratios between imperialists and oppressed nations) being relevant to the other ratio (currency of imperialists relative to oppressed nations).
According to A New History of Korea translated by Edward Wagner, during the 1910 to 1945 colonial occupation of Korea by Japan, Japanese businesses and landlords took over the lion's share of economic activity in Korea. At that time, the Japanese paid Japanese workers double what Korean workers received. At such a level, it is more difficult to argue that Japanese workers are not also exploited. It might or might not be true. A factor of two difference is a possibility within the exploited camp.
What we are seeing today instead is that imperialist currencies are often overvalued by factors of three, four and five relative to oppressed nation currencies. MIM further sees factors of eight and ten as the difference between wages going to imperialist country and Third World labor, sheerly as a matter of privilege, not a difference in the nature of the labor involved.
MIM and exploiter patriotism
This reviewer started as a striving patriot. In the last two years, there has been an intensified discussion of striving patriots with MIM.
The question comes down to Jeffersonian patriotism--the notion that patriotism is concern with the affairs of one's nation, not just one's persynal life or even one's relationship to God, which could after all be purely internal. In this way we can distinguish from those who say "my country right or wrong," where love is blind and lazy. As examples, Johnston says that students protesting the Vietnam War who ended up shot dead by the National Guard (p. 151) were actually patriots, because they made a sacrifice for their country and they should therefore be included in monuments in Washington, DC. The fact that they are not included in the momuments proves that patriotism is defined by hatred of others, not just sacrifice or concern. That is not to mention the victims of friendly fire, the death of many Vietnam vets via Agent Orange for example.
So then we go down the list of questions about patriotism that we receive.
1. MIM spends as much of its time on the nation's affairs as anyone, right? The people denouncing MIM in the name of patriotism usually spend much more time drinking beer passed out on the couch. Check.
2. Thomas Paine, Bruce Springsteen and many other patriots globally never favored invading other countries. Check.
3. No less an American patriot and crucial revolutionary Patrick Henry spoke against exaggerating foreign threats for the danger such exaggeration poses to freedom under attack from within. (p. 186) Check.
4. Even the "Federalist Papers" said that anyone calling for a permanent standing army would be a traitor and we need not have to worry that it would happen in an independent united $tates. Check.
5. Congress literally has a lower poll rating than O.J. Simpson, according to www.zogby.com so you can't let any of what they are doing get to you as a patriot, because it does not reflect on Amerikans. Check.
6. So why do you MIMers let blathering idiots get to you?
You are the patriots. Those people pulling guns on you, beating you up, spying on you, arresting you for distributing free newspapers in public places, putting your prisoners in administrative segregation for having unapproved reading materials, shooting Fred Hampton in his sleep--those are un-American people, unpatriotic, including Ann Coulter. They are unlovable, because they are un-American.
That's a big uncheck.
It comes down to political sociology, knowing the values of the people here and how they are stable and how they will react to proletarian struggle. These exploiters are unlovable, because they like it that way. The ultimate underlying reason is the material interest in appropriating Third World labor and other resources.
Patriotism in the united $tates only spurs patriotism among other imperialists, most notably Russians. If bottom-dog imperialists go for fascism, we can thank the Amerikan patriots for that.
The Americans as a people have vanished. They no longer exist to form a country to be patriotic to. Ann Coulter and Norman Podhoretz are the majority with their "out of the blue" patriotism saying there was no U.$.-Islamic historical conflict before 9/11.
When the "Federalist Papers" came out fighting for a constitution for the united $tates, the majority of Amerikans believed standing armies to be a component of tyranny. Those speaking of "deterrence" today would have been called traitors by a solid plurality if not an outright majority. The fact that only MIM and a few very wayward libertarians talk about that today is proof that striving patriotism is out of business.
In "out of the blue" patriotism, the vast majority cannot be bothered with things causing strife. The out-of-the-blue patriots assume that any repression has been justified by an unstated or stated crime and simply cannot believe that anything evil goes on in their country except by criminals outside the government. Some of the vicious in the striving wing of patriotism are in favor of the repression, hence the majority of white votes for KKK leader David Duke in Louisiana and the imprisonment rate there for Blacks exceeding the northern Korean imprisonment rate even if we count labor camps. It would be much too much political work to get involved in issues the way MIM implies. "Love is blind" permits a patriotic laziness with regard to liberty, racism, peace and equality.
Nothing is more ironic than these politicians all claiming to love their country while imprisoning it at a rate higher than in any other country. With lovers like that, a country needs no enemies. Yet, the blind and lazy lovers of Amerika by themselves are the plurality or near-majority at all times. When we add in the "out of the blue" patriots overall that would not say "my country right or wrong," but also would not do anything to see if anything is wrong, we have a clear majority. Top dog exploiter status creates that situation. Education, not to mention the right to education has been obtained and it is passe.
Then there is the question whether MIM can prioritize patriotism over peace or minimum international humyn rights, and we at MIM cannot. So there is a way in which science or knowledge of reality affects our choice of values. If the united $tates still had some kind of progressive thrust, some potential for being done with slavery, improving relations with the First Nations and reaching peace with the rest of the world as in 1776, then the choice of patriotism would be more appealing. Instead what we have is the united $tates overthrowing elected officials around the world, wasting resources on militarism, aiding unpopular lackey regimes and starving people. The Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah are all popular in their countries especially compared with Bush, but they are at the top of the U.$. enemies list, so much for democracy.
Since there is no basis for hope in the herrenvolk, no basis for hope in Amerikkkans in the current stage of history, there are other values out there for the seizing, other problems we can work on than how to advance the interests of the Amerikkkans. This is how people should let science influence the practice of their values. Perhaps something one wanted is actually a dead-end, but we should have enough ambitions for "doing good" that we can do other things if we learn about a dead-end. With a majority for decadent patriotism, "out-of-the- blue" patriotism, we have reached a dead-end in U.$. history that can only find resolution with the mobilization of the planet's exploited majority to force its will on the united $tates--which is why the top enemies on the U.$. terrorist list all have such popular support with Hamas and Hezbollah winning elections and Al Qaeda several times more popular than Bush in Pakistan. The reason for these happenings of the late 1990s and the early 21st century is that MIM was always right, that the democratic thrust is still relevant to the world's majority of exploited. Democracy and patriotism can go together in the Third World, because the exploited are the majority that have to throw off the exploiters' yoke.
Of course, we tell the Amerikkkans that they will benefit from our program for the environment and peace. The thing is that there is a huge gap between MIM and those who appear to the public to be just a tad to our right. Other parties calling themselves Marxist always asked us what our strategy was, because they could never see it, and this over a period of decades. The reason is that these other parties could not work with the reality of a majority of exploiters who are unlovable. They assumed that there has to be some patriotic answer, some way to appeal to democratic prejudice, usually by lying to say Amerikans are exploited if need be. The rest do not understand how it is impermissible within Marxist science to adjust the answer of the class structure to allow for the pet strategy and tactics that someone wants. That is why the labor aristocracy thesis is so important. People using similar rhetoric are not just a "tad" different than MIM. There is a whole host of implications about why democracy and patriotism are not progressive forces in the united $tates. The same "democratic socialists" who said nothing when Mitterand in France allowed the kind of democracy where a majority of shareholders invest in South African apartheid just for the hell of the profit, these same people believe that Amerikans by the virtue of their votes have a right to send troops to take over the oil of Iraq. The reason for that is that they believe Amerikans' votes are just as good as Third World votes, when in fact from a socialist perspective, Amerikans are the global headquarters of capitalism. The democratic socialists and social-democrats do not see the class line as it actually is globally.
The next step for democracy will in fact by disenfranchisement of Amerikans as Lincoln disenfranchised the Southern planters after the Civil War. The global majority will disenfranchise the Amerikkkans while doing some work to dismantle their oil companies and banks, the economic causes of their going to war on the world's majority.
Short of that and in the meantime, we owe the truth, not watered down to appease the Amerikkkan majority. The Third World itself must know the truth about Amerikkka inside and ultimately that is far more important than what Amerikans think about themselves. Providing the truth about Amerikkkans dissuades others from trying to copy their oppressive route. By explaining the theory of productive forces fallacy and other fallacies justifying a return to wealth instead of labor, we can also show the Third World why U.$. economic success cannot be directly copied either. However, we cannot accomplish that by lying and saying Amerikans are exploited, which implies their labor is responsible for their living standard and then some. Other countries will not be able to arrange the inward flow of labor that the united $tates has set up to exploit the planet.
Doing this work also helps the international proletariat find national bourgeois allies. It is by contemplating the Amerikan bourgeoisie that the national bourgeoisie can come to national consciousness favorable to independence movements that the international proletariat still needs thanks to the backwardness and decadence of imperialism. It is the yeastiness of thought provided to differing segments of rulers based in land, the fact that not all honorary Amerikans of empire have U.$. territory as a reference point.
The truth about the theory of productive forces and other justifications of bourgeois wealth have to be exposed or Third World governments will reinvent the wheel, thus wasting precious time along the way. For this, again an accurate analysis of the Amerikan class structure is necessary. Then we need an accurate understanding of the forces for striving patriotism versus self-satisfied patriotism. The Liberals insist that knowing how many Chinese were in Korea was a life-and-death question of military intelligence, but Western so-called communists will be found saying it is "tactically smart," to misplace or miss entirely a nine digit figure of enemies using patriotism to justify exploitation of other countries. The majority of so-called Marxists in the West believes the enemy is in the seven or eight digits.
Steven Johnston is correct that U.$. patriotism is narcissistic. It's about having family stories of bravery to tell and the ceremonies for military veterans. There is no patriotism where someone says the uncomfortable truth that the most patriotic politicians are responsible for the highest imprisonment rate in the world. Love of one's country should entail imprisoning it less than would-be conquerers, but Johnston is correct that U.$. patriotism and imperialist patriotism generally is about narcissism and blind love. "Out-of- the-blue," self-satisfied patriotism especially since 9/11 is in the majority. There is no striving or progressive patriotic majority, and hardly much of a striving patriotic minority, because the class basis for that does not exist in the united $tates. The most logical solution for today's world conflicts is for the patriotism of the oppressed to overcome the patriotism of the united $tates and its allies.