Pakistan Monthly Review
AN INDEPENDENT SOCIALIST JOURNAL
Nothing human is alien to me – Karl Marx
Volume 1, No. 6, June 2019
Editor: Rashed Rahman
The generalised tendency prevalent in the world shows a dominant shift to the right. This is happening when neither any revolution is in sight nor any movement based on a ‘great refusal’ is threatening the status quo anywhere in the world. The lack of a revolutionary movement is where the etiology of a rightward shift in reality rests.
Before the end of the Cold War, in both the developing and developed world a general but false consensus about equality, liberty, and fraternity – the hallmark of the French Revolution – as an exclusive and integral feature of Western norms existed. Tempered by false consciousness, the common perception of progress and development alluded to two alternatives: either liberal democracy or a hideous, sullen and stifling Iron Curtain painted red, led by a hegemonic ‘evil’ power ever ready to impose its ideology over the ‘free’ world through revolts and revolutions. Life was strictly divided into the categories of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘virtuous’ and ‘vile’, ‘human’ and ‘inhuman’. Nothing lay beyond that, not even metaphysics.
The reality, on the contrary, was entirely different. “The bourgeois revolutions,” Horkheimer states, “have always repressed the egotistic and hedonistic demands, thereby producing aggression, terror and prevention of hopes for liberty, equality and fraternity” (Max Horkheimer: The Eclipse of Reason, 1947). Following the same spirit, Sutton revealed the other face of the Western polity. He narrates that it was Wall Street and the US industrialists who brought Hitler to power. Both the Young and Daws Commissions helped to boost the Nazi economy and Henry Ford, Standard Oil, Chase Bank (J P Morgan Chase) and other US corporations prepared Hitler’s Wehrmacht to launch the Second World War (Anthony Sutton: Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler, 1976).
Lest one forget, the late father and grandfather of US former presidents George Bush Sr and Jr, Prescott Bush was a director of the firm that was involved with the financial architects of Nazism (The Guardian, 2004). “The Guardian has seen evidence that shows Bush was the director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that represented Thyssen's US interests and he continued to work for the bank after America entered the war.” “Bush” was linked “with Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC)…the company made use of Nazi slave labour from the concentration camps, including Auschwitz.”
On the other hand, much hype surrounds the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, painting it as a dubious arrangement of controlling the world through a fascist-communist alliance. No one cares to mention “…Stalin’s offer of sending a million troops to stop Hitler if Britain and France agreed. The offer was made by the war minister Marshall Klementi Voroshilov and Red Army chief of general staff Boris Shaposhnikov on August 15, 1939” (Daily Telegraph, 2008). “Had the British, French, and their European ally Poland, taken this offer seriously,” General Sotskov said, who joined Soviet Intelligence later, “…this was a chance to save the world or at least stop the wolf in its tracks” (ibid). On the contrary, prior to this offer, Czechoslovakian President Eduard Benes was asked not to invoke his country’s military treaty with the Soviets and soon afterwards, Chamberlain meekly surrendered Czechoslovakia to the Nazis. Despite the impotence and lack of preparedness of the Allies to fight the Germans, the Soviet offer remained unworthy of consideration.
The question – as Sotskov mentioned – was not about saving the world. Was Chamberlain trying to buy time? Was Britain keen to maintain the stranglehold on its Asian colonies and was worried that a war with Germany would weaken her control over the prize of India and China? Or was he waiting for fascism to invade the Soviet Union and crush it? The ideological polarisation between fascism and communism made the German invasion of the Soviet Union inevitable. One can blame Chamberlain for pusillanimity but his conjecture was not wrong.
Under the prevailing tempestuous conditions, all these appeared as real possibilities yet no one can deny the close approximation between capitalism and its Jungian animus, fascism. The (ir)rationality of both shares a common basis of domination through integration and unification. Theodor Adorno was quick to perceive that with dominant instrumental reason, western liberal capitalism had already chosen its destiny of transforming itself into a more reified social order. For Adorno, the cultural industry’s integration of liberal western society had led to its repressive unification. Under the influence of instrumental reason, people had given up thinking; they merely acted, and that was precisely what fascism had done to the people it ruled.
A J P Taylor testifies to Hitler’s position as nothing different from any other representative of capitalism, stating, “In international affairs there was nothing wrong with Hitler except that he was a German; he did what others were doing” (A J P Taylor: Origins of the Second World War, 1961). The world wars were wars for hegemony and control of world resources and among the European nations, the Soviets alone were not interested in expansion. However, as General Sotskov says, “It was clear that the Soviet Union stood alone and had to turn to Germany and sign a non-aggression pact to gain some time to prepare ourselves for the conflict that was clearly coming” (Daily Telegraph, 2008).
This validates the premise that the capitalist powers were looking to fascism to invade the Soviet Union. It was supposedly a win-win strategy. The victory of fascism in reality would have been the victory of capitalism while its defeat could have exhausted the Nazis and Soviets both, leading to their destruction or emaciation, which would have helped save the blushes of ‘liberal’ capitalism. Comprehending the integral nexus between the two, Horkheimer warned: “Whoever is not prepared to talk about capitalism should also remain silent about fascism” (Max Horkheimer: The Jews and Europe, 1939).
Once the Red Army marched to liberate Berlin and Stalin decided to declare war on Japan, the world war immediately reached its logical end. The Soviet offensive against Japan began in August 1945, “two days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and one day before the second bomb fell on Nagasaki – though Western historiography has long emphasised the role of the nuclear attacks in compelling Japan’s surrender, newly available Japanese documents emphasise the importance of the Soviet declaration of war in forcing Tokyo’s hand” (Jeffrey Mankoff, The National Interest, August 19, 2015). Had the Soviets not launched the attack, Japan, despite having its cities destroyed by the persistent carpet-bombing of the Allies, would not have surrendered, at least not that quickly. In a dystopian nightmare, two nuclear bombs added to Japan’s plight, but the Soviet march led to the physical control of the land.
The Soviet Union suffered a colossal loss of 27 million lives but western capitalism was anxious to destroy the system that gave a backward, agrarian, devastated society a new dimension, a spirit to a spiritless state. The US, with no delay, started the Cold War. Erich Von Manstein, the Field Marshal of the Nazi army sentenced for his war crimes but released after serving a mere four years’ imprisonment, was sent to West Germany as a military adviser. A man who praised Hitler as a leader sent by God helped the West Germans to reestablish their army. One need not be a scientist to know against whom the army was raised to fight the ultimate battle, especially when “he was released as a result of pressure by Winston Churchill, Konrad Adenauer (West German Chancellor)…and others” (Melvin, 2010).
For Eli Rosenbaum, the former director of the Justice Department’s office of special investigation, “The real winners of the cold war were Nazi criminals, many of whom were able to escape justice because the East and West became so rapidly focused after the war on challenging each other.” “The key figure on the German side of the CIA-Nazi tryst was General Reinhard Gehlen, who had served as Adolf Hitler’s top anti-Soviet spy. During World War II, Gehlen oversaw all German military-intelligence operations in Eastern Europe and the USSR” (Martin, 2001).
“Gehlen,” according to the Institute of Policy Studies, “returned to West Germany in the summer of 1946 with a mandate to rebuild his espionage organisation and resume spying on the East at the behest of American intelligence. The date is significant as it preceded the onset of the cold war, which, according to standard US historical accounts, did not begin until a year later” (ibid). The statement validates the notion of how quickly and eagerly the US pursued her agenda of initiation of the Cold War once the active war against the Axis was over.
“Based near Munich, Gehlen proceeded to enlist thousands of Gestapo, Wehrmacht, and SS veterans. Even the vilest of the vile – the senior bureaucrats who ran the central administrative apparatus of the Holocaust – were welcome in the ‘Gehlen Org’, as it was called – including Alois Brunner, Adolf Eichmann’s chief deputy. The SS Major Emil Augsburg and Gestapo Captain Klaus Barbie, otherwise known as the ‘Butcher of Lyon’, were among those who did double duty for Gehlen and US intelligence…It seems that in the Gehlen headquarters, one SS man paved the way for the next and Himmler’s elite were having happy reunion ceremonies,” the Frankfurter Rundschau reported in the early 1950s (ibid).
“Members of the Gehlen Org were instrumental in helping thousands of fascist fugitives escape via ‘ratlines’ to safe havens abroad – often with a wink and a nod from US intelligence officers. Third Reich expatriates and fascist collaborators subsequently emerged as ‘security advisors’ in several Middle Eastern and Latin American countries, where ultra-right-wing death squads persist as their enduring legacy. Klaus Barbie, for example, assisted a succession of military regimes in Bolivia, where he taught soldiers torture techniques and helped protect the flourishing cocaine trade in the late 1970s and early ’80s” (ibid).
During the Nazi era, Klaus Barbie, directly involved in war crimes, “was responsible for deportation of Jews to death camps, [and] in Bolivia used to do big business with the drugs lords. He had his own team of assassins…American intelligence officials helped Barbie to become established in Bolivia as part of the crusade against communism. Barbie was in charge of the murders of many Bolivian citizens, first under General Banzer’s regime and later when an even bloodier dictator, Luis Garcia Meza rose to power in what was called the necro, or cocaine coup. Barbie was a key aide then…he organized absolutely everything. He was even given the rank of a lieutenant colonel in the Bolivian armed forces…” (The Guardian, 2008). The ‘Butcher of Lyon’ became the butcher of Bolivia.
Under the abstraction of democracy, freedom and human rights, a never-ending terror campaign against the Soviet Union and its allies went into full swing. When the Chinese and Cuban revolutions threatened to hammer the last nail in capitalism’s coffin, the US invasion of the Bay of Pigs brought the world to the brink of a nuclear catastrophe. The failure of the US bourgeoisie to dislodge the Castro regime, not only led to outright coercion within the US but an intra-class panic and conflict as well. Marcuse succinctly stated: “Black militants paid with their lives: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Fred Hampton, [and] George Jackson. The new composition of the Supreme Court institutionalized the progress of the reaction. And the murder of the Kennedys showed that even Liberals werenot safe if they appeared as too liberal” (Herbert Marcuse: Counterrevolution and Revolt, 1972).
“The Western world,” Marcuse concluded fifty years ago, “has reached a new stage of development: now, the defense of the capitalist system requires the organization of counterrevolution at home and abroad. In its extreme manifestations, it practices the horrors of the Nazi regime. Wholesale massacres in Indochina, Indonesia, the Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan and the Sudan are unleashed against everything, which is called ‘communist’ or which is in revolt against governments subservient to the imperialist countries. Cruel persecution prevails in the Latin American countries under fascist and military dictatorships. Torture has become a normal instrument of ‘interrogation’ around the world. The agony of religious wars revives at the height of Western civilization, and a constant flow of arms from the rich countries to the poor helps to perpetuate the oppression of national and social liberation” (ibid).
Revival of religion was never a hindrance to the capitalist mode of production. Even during the French Revolution, “despite hostility to Catholicism most of the bourgeois leaders were convinced of the need for religious ideas of some form as an ideological cement…The main Jacobin leaders were profoundly hostile to atheism” (McGarr, 1989). The Jacobins felt “the de-Christianisers were going too far, wanting to carry economic control and terror further than the revolutionary government wanted…[Hence] Robespierre and the Jacobins began attacking the de-Christianisers from the beginning of Frimare” [November 21, 1793] (ibid). In the end, Napoleon restored the religion not as “the mystery of incarnation but the mystery of social order” (Napoleon’s speech).
Nothing has shrouded in mystery how the US and its allies in Europe used religion to curb the class struggle. From the creation of the Taliban to ISIS and rendering support to the White Helmets to al Qaeda and the Nusra Front is no more a secret. Hillary Clinton is on record as acknowledging: “Americans created and funded al Qaeda as a terrorist organization.” She confessed: “Let them come from Saudi Arabia and other countries, importing their Wahhabi brand of Islam…and that is what the US is doing in Syria, using al Qaeda moderates to fight against Syria and Russia” (Chossudovsky, 2013).
Loss of profit and overproduction, the inherent flaws of capitalism, necessitated the invasion of the pre-capitalist areas. From Korea, Indo-China to Latin America, Ukraine, Middle East, North Africa, Venezuela to Afghanistan and Pakistan, every country is burning in this capitalistic inferno. Rosa Luxemburg’s definition of imperialism suits the current agony the world is going through. “Imperialism,” she says, “is not the creation of anyone or any group of states. It is the product of a particular stage of ripeness in the world development of capital, an innately international condition, an indivisible whole, that is recognizable only in all its relations, and from which no nation can hold aloof at will” (Luxemburg: Accumulation of Capital, 1915).
With its expansion, capitalism has saturated nearly all the pre-capitalist areas either through a coercive peace, the overthrow of left-leaning leadership, or by imposing terrible wars. The world stands at a scenario predicted by Rosa Luxemburg. The dilemma of capitalism is the lack of its further expansion. The saturated pre-capitalist areas are no longer in a position to absorb the surplus produced by the capitalist countries. The cheap labour power of the pre-capitalist areas is acquiring skills, standardisation is taking over, and so is technology. Labour is demanding higher wages and better working conditions, leading to antagonism and furthering class conflict.
A war economy seems to be the only mode of self-realisation for capital. The process of the balkanisation of states, the imperialist threat of invasion against all those refusing to succumb before western interests, the constant siege of vulnerable nations and the continuing Holocaust, especially in Palestine and Kashmir, supporting fascism in the world to foment a state of fear and nationalism to sell weapons, slogans such as ‘Making America great again’ and the tariff wars signalling the rift between rival states, are clear indications not only of the mode of realisation left open to capital but also the existential/cyclic crisis it is going through.
On the other hand, the resources of the states are becoming scanty. The parasitic Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, anticipating the exhaustion of their oil resources, are selling their public assets and opening their soil to tourism. Sooner rather than later they will not be able to buy and boost the destructive products of the US military-industrial complex, at least not to the extent they are doing now. Because of this, the apartheid state of Israel created to control exclusively the Middle East too will gradually become irrelevant. An economically weak Europe is far more fragmented; it is hovering between a winter of chaotic liberalism and the hateful blind alleys of fascism. The triumph of Trump has endorsed the gradual decline of US capitalism. The stagnation of surplus value of the vulture capitalism either will lead the world to socialism or to the annihilation of the planet since the option of barbarism has already been effectively utilised.
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