this article is quite long, it represents an entire book or two on this
topic. Much more is available elsewhere, if you search by topic.
I have attempted to condense a book on history into a couple pages, and
I have left out much info, and I may have even accidentally garbled a
minor factoid -- this is not a true research paper and it will probably
undergo revision over time, however even as a rough draft I can assure
you that the major disturbing facts --- which sound like a "Through the
Looking Glass -- Alice in Wonderland"-type story compared to our
reality and "common knowledge" --- are completely true.
What you are about to read is True. The names have NOT been changed to protect the guilty.
I am finding that many people I speak with about the current situation in the corporate capitalist Nirvana called the US in the 21st century, have no basis in real history to comprehend the assertions about the brutality of the US. Others are aware but believe that the problem is Bush. They think, If it werent for Bush, then we would be living in a Nirvana. Some gory historical account is called for.
Please note that except for an economic downturn that has led to mass unemployment, underemployment, and wage and social benefit cuts for a great many lower class poor, working poor, elderly, and middle class -- and even upper class technical managers who are now managing fast food or retail outlets, or struggling with small businesses, the United States IS still a Nirvana, relatively speaking. And surely prosperity and peace is right around the corner. Sometime after November. What's important to pay attention to is bloody obvious -- not just where you are today, whether you are starving or homeless or not, whether you (personally) are better off or worse off today than you were four years ago, or in the near future, but this question: in what direction are WE headed? For those who catch my lingo, the United States is a "WE" program, not an "I" program, or it ought to be.
The brief answer is: since the policies for repression of State Aid programs was US-CIA policy in Latin America and it mirrors US domestic policy, with similar losses for US workers and civilians, the direction we are headed is into the dumpster.
Some guy once said something to the effect of "how you treat the least of my brethren, that is how you treat me." Anybody know who this guy is? He is very famous. Along those lines, how they treat the least of my brethren, that is how they will treat all of us.
The powers that run things have worked very hard on atomizing the public into small, separate units that are easy to control and repress, and created a nation of tiny warring states called families and individuals and small groups, but it's up to us to consider that WE are in this together -- all races, all ages, all religions, all classes, all sexes and mixes. Call us the bottom 99% or at least the bottom 90%. Side note: 83% of total election funds come from 1% of the public.
So, on to History.
The US was founded on the Declaration of Independence from England, particularly due to taxation, tariffs, and restrictions on wealthy traders on the East Coast, like the family that owned 80% of New York State. Small farmers had little stake in the matter, but propaganda pamphlets like Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" and regular news articles, as well as efforts to shame antiwar demonstrators into action managed to rouse a reluctant public to shed blood to defend the Declaration, and to make it a reality.
When the war was over, States formed a loose alliance called a Confederation, but remained highly independent, under the Articles of Confederation. After some years of wrangling, the United States Constitution was finally ratified by the States, and America as a strong centralized Federalist nation was founded. One of the goals was to keep the Executive Office weak, and very un-king-like, however the final Constitution was a compromise that left more power in the Federal Government. Also, it is worth noting that when one of the members of the Constitutional Convention (they were all rich elites who could afford to leave home for months to do politics), made a move against his ruling class and recommendeded a Bill of Rights for the People, it was voted down unanimously without discussion. It was put in at the end because some representatives refused to sign without one.
Thus we got a Constitution which protected our freedom and rights --- except for then landless, including white poor, blacks, all women, and of course the native indigenous people who resided here when Europeans arrived. Since they did not have legal title to lands from either England or America, they were driven from the lands in a century-long holocaust which killed roughly 90% or more of their population and left them completely marginalized on scrub land. Even when they were given legal title to land in some treaty, those legalities were easily brushed aside when inconvenient, and mass deportation and murder revived. After all, they were savages. This was carried out under the name of devout Christianity, and survivors were often stripped of their culture and converted to Christianity by force, though it must be said that some devout Christians also defended the lives and humanity of these people. Not many though, compared to the US death squads sent out by Washington, as well as local vigilante death squads.
At that time, Corporations were beginning to be founded by the States, and upon review, were granted Corporate Charters. Corporations were legal fictions, legal agreements creating wealth-producing machines, and given all the free land and free resources to expand, once the claims of the dark-skinned residents were eliminated. It made sense to use capital (debt) to leverage expansion, and it was expedient to do larger projects like roads and bridges, which small companies were unable to finance or insure. Corporations allowed vastly accellerated expansion and expropriation and extraction of wealth and resources. Corporations allowed resources and labor to be converted to wealth at a vastly accellerated rate as compared to ordinary commerce.
However these early corporations were tightly controlled by the State governments, and were considered subservient to Human Persons who were suspicious of these greed machines and their masters. Corporations were not allowed to own other corporations or do anything else which violated the terms of their original charters, in which case they were disbanded and their owners sometimes fined or jailed. This changed slowly over time as corporations grew more wealthy and were able to bribe State officials and judges and to move jurisdiction on legal matters to Federal Courts. Federal Courts began to overrule State Laws enacted by the public, and sided with the wealthy who owned the corporations. Restrictions were gradually eliminated and more rights were granted. One great milestone was following the Civil War, when in the late 1800's a judge out west ruled that Corporations were Persons, and therefore could suffer unjust violations of their civil rights. The 14th Amendment protected the civil rights of humans and "freed the slaves" by making them whole Persons in the eyes of the Law, no longer three-fifths. It was 100 years later that Blacks finally made significant real gains in civil rights under the twin leadership of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and others, and the 14th Amendment finally began to have some reality. However, immediately following the ratification of the 14th Amendment, over the next 30 years, the Supreme Court heard some 275 cases where the civil rights of a corporation was violated by some State Law restricting their usurpation, while only 12 cases were heard by actual black humans. This fact alone should give a picture that explains much.
For the next century, corporations proceeded to fight for and gain more and more power and rights once reserved for Persons, while simultaneously throwing off the types of normal civic responsibilities that ordinary Human Persons are held to. And it must be noted that:
All in all, we are almost completely owned. And not by kindly benefactors. If anything, I've understated the level of control and ownership, compared to what I've seen and read. One proof of a crack in the matrix is the existence of this article, but the practical power of this article to reach out to the masses and even to inform, let alone affect change, is ridiculously miniscule. One more point to the positive is that however small, I am not alone.
Backing up, during the Presidency of Lincoln, Southern States (Big Business and small farmers) fought against business taxation by the North, against the Federal Government, and fought against giving up their source of high profit margins due to extremely low labor costs -- the free labor provided by the legal ownership of slaves. The South was willing to fight the bloodiest, most deadly war in the history of the US to preserve their profit margins, while the North was willing to endure the same battles for their advantage. Oh, and to "preserve the Union" as well. How noble.
In the years following the Civil War, the US invaded Latin America to crush and to own the resources and profits of free peasant nations such Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Equador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, etc. They typically fought just long enough to impose "friendly" governments that would give free reign to US business such as United Fruit (Chaquita) and companies that mine gold, silver, and later extracted oil. Soldiers typically fought for other reasons, like to promote Christianity to these savages, before killing them. Or for higher pay, a job opportunity. This is just like today, the endless War on Terrorism and kids joining the military to go to college. The 1980's under Reagan and Bush were a repeat of that, but not an exception, because such actions continued unabated throughout US history.
Populist Teddy Roosevelt, who won many Progressive Reforms for US workers, nevertheless joyfully waged a war which was really an outright massacre of a million people in the Phillipines. Protecting our National Interests. Hawaii, Guam and other US protectorates got to enjoy similar expression of the US form of "democracy".
World War I is something I can't tell you too much about, check back later, but I do know it was originally a battle between capitalists in Western Europe, Britain and France, and the Barvarian monarchy in Germany.
World War II, the "Just War" was preceded by Western capitalists supplying huge financial investment and support for the Nazis and investing in German businesses which supplied the Nazi political machine and armed the Nazi war machine. Prescott Bush (yes that Bush family) acting through the investment firm of Brown Bros.-Harriman was a major source of such funding. Averill Harriman, like that Bush and the current Bush, and a slew of other top leaders, was a member of Skull and Bones, the Yale group. Prescott Bush was prosecuted by the US under the Trading with the Enemy Act, because he failed to server ties after Germany declared War on the US and secretly continued to invest in the Nazis. Bush lost some businesses, but nevertheless later became a US Senator from Connecticut. His main legal counsel during the Nazi days, the Dulles brothers who worked at Sullivan and Cromwell, rose to Secretary of State and Director of the CIA, and then -- lo and behold -- got their very own airport named after them!!!
I'll say that again: Dulles Airport in Washington, DC is named after a couple Nazi collaborators who rose to the very top of US government. One of top Nazi collaborationists and financiers - Prescott Bush - became Senator and a a few decades later his son became the Director of the CIA and later Vice-President under Reagan (question: did Reagan really make decisions during his term, or Bush?), and finally became President, where he blatantly lied to the public about Iraq and lied to Saddam about US intentions (see other paper, Monica and Iraq). Then his son, George W., working alongside similar Nazi-minded men in PNAC and other offices, pushed US government to be even more aggressive and corporate-friendly, than many recent Presidents, and harsher and meaner to the public. This current Bush --- and it would be naïve to believe that this Nazi family history was not a direct factor unless W had given up politics and gone into baseball or music or acting -- is apparently not really intelligent or interested enough to actually think about decisions regarding running the nation, but he can parrot lines for the men behind the scenes and almost conduct an interview competently, if no one hammers him with tough questions. A younger, sharper Reagan.
Contrast the glowing line of success of that family with "The American Taliban", who I'll agree was whacko enough to risk his own life fighting alongside the evil Taliban, but while this was after al-Qaeda bombed some US targets overseas, and it was while the Taliban were harboring al-Qaeda, this was before they were an official enemy of the US, and while they were still honored guests of George W. Bush and Unocal. "The American Taliban" never waged war on the US, only on the equally-terrorist Northern Alliance a.k.a. United Front, but he got a life sentence in prison, whereas Bush --- who heavily funded mass murder of Americans and the Holocaust --- got a political dynasty.
Henry Ford had a subsidiary in Germany, which was protected from Allied bombing, and so German civilians used it as a de facto air raid shelter. Some 80% of the German people opposed the Nazi rise to power, but Western capitalist wealth overwhelmed them. "Give Adolph a Chance" was a motto in the US. Britain and France were delighted to make a pact with Hitler in Munich, and to give him Czechoslovakia as a gift. Hearst Newspapers featured interviews with top Nazis. After the War, top Nazi scientists and military strategists found a home --- at the CIA. Many top Nazis were released from prisons and took positions in government in reconstructed West Germany, with the role of crushing workers' rights and unions -- the dirty commies.
Italian fascists got the same loving treatment as the Nazis, and Italian workers got the same vicious treatment as the German workers, as the US hired the Mafia to break legs and kill union organizers.
Following the destuction of Japan, Japanese fascists were restored to power with an allegiance to the US. They were used to run raids into Korea, sparking a defense by the Chinese, and the Korean War.
When Vietnam finally overthrew the French and gained Independence, even writing a Constitution modelled after ours, the US moved in to crush the independent democratic-socialist populace, seeking complete domination by proxy. I've heard of 1 or 2 million Asian deaths, but former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said 3.5 million individuals were killed. This war began under Republican Eisenhower, was escalated and then reduced under Democrat Kennedy, escalated drastically under Democrat Johnson, escalated insanely under Republican Nixon who promised to end the war during his campaign -- but then sought to "win" so he "would not be the first American President to lose a war". Nixon's pride finally lost to massive public protest, which led to the publishing of gruesome photos and some true stories in the reluctant mainstream media. This was coupled with the scandal of the leaked Pentagon Papers, which showed the US voting public they had been lied to. This led to even more domestic unrest, to the point that leaders feared "losing the country", and the overt Vietnam war was dropped and soldiers and some civilians evacuated. The covert, vengeful CIA-led killing of Vietnamese and Cambodians via the Pol Pot regime continued after that.
It sounds like senseless slaughter, and it was in some sense, but hey, not completely senseless ... gotta make a buck! And if it takes massive taxpayer expenditures, debt, and the destruction of the monetary system to accomplish it (Nixon had to abolish the Gold Standard to create enough money to finance the war), leading to deep recession and massive inflation, then hey ... it's worth the price! (or is it?)
The US public developed a severe distaste for goverment-sponsored violence and death, and many formerly naïve and trusting have not yet forgotten that their government blatantly lied to them and acted without care for loss of American lives and with utter disregard for the lives and well-being of victims overseas. To the degree they have learned the truth about US actions, opposition to war has grown. Our society has been changed, albeit marginally, though efforts to return us all to obedient, unquestioning, compliant soldiers who support their violent excursions has continued. They are hoping that aging, attrition, and revision of history in schools will erase the "Vietnam syndrome" of pubic opposition to war and mistrust of government. Despite loud patriotic bleeting of the TV, and many proud and frightened Americans going along, the American people are not stupid. Misinformed. Naïve. Desiring to believe in their elected leaders. In some mass denial. But not, as a whole, stupid.
Fast forward past the bloody US role in South and Central America where hundreds of thousands were killed by US taxpayer-funded death squads using elaborate high-tech Army equipment, and CIA surveillance of "the enemy", the indigenous population and their democratically elected government. Don't forget US intervention in bringing democracy and free markets to Africa, leading to the deaths of millions.
Since the Middle East was seen as a prize and vital asset since at least 1945, the US and Britain played that region, carving it up into small nations. In 1979, the CIA worked with the Pakistani ISI to arm and train the most fanatical of the mujhadeen, which led to the creation of al-Qaeda. The mujhadeen warriors, many who were Saudis, described later as "ignorant and psychotic" by the only movement for democracy in Afghanistan (R.A.W.A.) staged a coup and assassinated their President, a Social Democrat, which the US equated with "communist". Around that time, real democracy was emerging in Afghanistan, women became students, lawyers, doctors. Kabul was thriving. Then the CIA further trained the same mujhadeen and excursions into the "soft Muslim belly of the Soviet Union" were started under President Carter in a strategy thought up by Zbigniew Brzezinski, National (in) Security Adviser. The Soviet Union responded to these attacks, and were sucked into "their own Vietnam", exactly as Brzezinski planned.
Saddam's CIA sponsored rise in Iraq began in the 60's. It was like bloody coup of the month for a while, but the CIA funded Saddam who was a military officer but not yet President. The CIA gave him lists of leftists, communists, and liberals, even within his Baath party, and he had them killed. Good boy. Watching Fox TV, it should not be too hard to imagine the Establishment hating liberals enough to have Saddam wipe them out, though actions against liberals in the US are more low key. That's the foreign picture, most of it anyhow.
During that time period, President Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger went to Indonesia to support and arm his troops and the next day they began a campaign of slaughter and enslavement of the briefly independent Timorese people, leading to the deaths of 200,000 over 25 years through Dem and Republican administrations. Grassroots outcry and public exposure finally led to the cessation of arming the Indonesian army, under Clinton. (Clinton fought this, but Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House was interested -- only to investigate to see if there was something with which to slam Clinton.)
Sorry about the confusion in time lines, there are lots of overlapping events.
On the domestic front, following the Civil War, in the early Industrial Age and before the rise of Unions in America in the 30s, men and women from the farms moved to cities or industry or were pushed in that direction by the government, acting on behalf of Corporate Amerika, and companies like US Steel and Standard Oil, under Rockefeller. Banker Mellon was also a good friend, and acted as Treasury Secretary for a time. At that time, with the rise of industrial workers, wages were kept as low as possible, child labor was common, dangerous and deadly work was common, safety conditions kept as bad as possible, etc. (Even today, unnecessary worker deaths due to cost-saving measures annually exceed the death toll of the terrorist attack on Sept 11, 2001.) As organized labor began to rise up, unarmed strikers (later armed) were met by an onslaught by corporations' private police forces and subcontractors like Wackenhut, and government armies. This happened on US soil. This has been virtually erased from US history books, or vastly minimized.
Violence against American workers was severe. They were demonized, and labelled "communists" or "commie-sympathizers" after the Russian Revolution. In Colorado, at the Ludlow Massacre, things got so testy that the US Army was called out -- to help the company murder mining workers and their families, shooting and burning many to death in a mini-war at the outdoor campsite village where they resided.
Popular Socialist politicians who defended the workers all over the US, were arrested, destroyed, and killed. Eugene Debs who was a candidate for public office (President?) was sentenced to a long prison term. The Palmer Raids led to rounding up, beating, and imprisonment of Union leaders, described as communists. Some did become communists, or socialists, or developed socialist political ideas.
Communism was seen by many workers as much more benign than our government, and probably would have been without the twin effects of the Western and Nazi military assault on the Soviet Union and the megalomania of Joseph Stalin. The communist dream was equality and egalitarianism for everyone, at a time when US workers were treated not to conditions like we have today, but brutality and stavation wages. Well, that's is what we are beginning to see today. The capitalists had lavished praise and money on Hitler, encouraging him to attack Stalin's Soviet Union, which he eventually did, leading to 20 million deaths in the USSR before they beat him back. Even Herbert Hoover's food aid program was used to feed the Czarist White Army as it destroyed villages in an attempt to take back Russia under a dictatorial monarchy, such was the hatred for the communist economic system in the West.
It was not as if the US government would defend US workers, and uphold the rule of law. Communists however defended US workers, often with weapons. Popular gains were made, but the Corporate Establishment and the government fought any such gains, often viciously or through legislation and courts.
In the 30's, on the tail of the Great Depression, Roosevelt finally made big concessions to Unions when the US was on the brink of anarchy, gains were made and then expanded, child labor abolished, a 40-hour work week established as full time and people were not forced to labor 90 hours for straight pay, and a minimum wage set for all of us. A middle-class standard of living arose for many, and this was accepted in the highly profitable post-war boom of rebuilding Europe and Japan, when the US produced 40% of the output of goods in the world, with little competition.
As the post-war era slowly declined and competition arose, corporate profits began to fall in the early 60's. The now-big Unions which had been finally accepted and regulated by government, were increasingly infiltrated and corrupted by Big Business. Since the 50's, a concerted media propaganda and government effort was enacted to change minds and erode public sympathy for Unions. Corporate corruption was underplayed, Union corruption was exaggerated. That combined with a massive Fed interest rate hike in the Reagan era, led to the slowing of the economy, loss of jobs, massive decline of Unions, and with it, much of the "Power to the People" agenda, except for inconsequential and symbolic gains. People had gotten complacent, fat and happy. Continuous efforts were made to undermine Unions in the legal system and in the Press. Fast forward to the 1980's through 2004, and witness Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and now Bush and the corporations rolling back gains such as overtime rules and health care, and pushing outright wage concessions on workers, as government rewards companies for shipping jobs overseas.
It doesn't happen all at once. It happens slowly, over decades and generations, but make no mistake: The effort and the direction is to roll back American workers to the 1900's, to slavery and compliance amidst all our "freedom". Look for yourself. The effort is to do this using as much clandestine low-level effort as possible, a minimum of unrest, a maximum of easy compliance, coupled with the ability to use the hot button of "terrorism" if civil unrest gets out of hand. This is a re-run. This is nothing new.
During the 60's, Blacks seeking political and human rights under the Black Panther Party, vowing publicly to defend themselves with deadly force against the KKK and FBI if attacked, were spied on, offices and homes raided and trashed, efforts sabotaged and undermined from within using spies, and ultimately destroyed. Some leaders were even murdered in their beds in Chicago by FBI Agents and police. Evidence later showed it was outright murder: a set-up, a map of the apartment, secret drugging of the victims before they went to bed to assure there would be no effort to defend themselves, hundreds of rounds fired in, none out, and a highly respected and loved community leader man shot to death at point-blank range as he lay bleeding on the floor. This was a man who had killed no one, but had organized food and education for the poor and a political movement to oppose existing power structures, and had publicly criticized the system.
Now, though I've glossed over many facts, you can see the pattern for yourself. It takes a lot of pain before Americans are willing to shed blood defending themselves in all-out war with their own government as they had in the 20's 30's and the 60's.
And now, unlike in the 30's, history has been erased. Now, unlike in the 30's, the govt. has the USA PATRIOT Act which allows them to spy on ordinary Americans with great computerized efficiency. The Secretary of Education equates "the teachers union" with "terrorists". This is our Democracy. The intention and agenda are not much different from US actions worldwide, to squeeze higher profits for capitalists crush workers and reverse any gains they have made, although still far less violent at home and under public scrutiny than in places hidden from the view of the average American.
It occurred to me when reading about Latin America, and then about other places where the US intervened worldwide to "promote democracy", that if simple, ordinary human decency and morality did not prevent these brutal (US-led or sponsored) massacres and repression of workers and peasants overseas, did not prevent the holocaust against Native Americans, all for the benefit of free flow of capital and access to higher profits, then obviously we cannot expect decency and morality to protect us in America, either. Only the watchful eye of public opinion, and the moral outrage and agitation of ordinary citizens, crying out to protect "the least among us" in order to protect all of us, and using all the economic and political means at our disposal can be relied on to save us from these cannibals.
Again, there is much more historical information online and it can probably offer corrections to my generalizations, but this was all written in good faith. Howard Zinn is one historian who explores history from the point of view of the least among us, the losers who often lost to government and the establishment, the non-ruling class.