On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 10:59 PM, Haim <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
<< snip >>
> There you go. And, if anyone is outraged by the length and nature of my little essay, they should blame you :) >
I read Haim's essay with no sense of outrage (other than the fact that anti-semitism is outrageously dumb and silly, which doesn't mean some rabbis aren't a source of reprehensible teachings -- some are, imams too).
Where I think a lot of USAers come from is thinking the USA was flirting with socialism most directly under the auspices of FDR's New Deal, and that all those projects like WPA (Work Projects Administration) and CCC (Civilian Conservation Core) were the beginnings of socialism in this country.
It is partly for this reason that Wall Street capitalists colluded and approached Gen. Smedley Butler about assuming the commander in chief role, if something bad were to happen to FDR (could be arranged).
Gen. Bulter blew the whistle and told Congress, an embarrassment, because these capitalists also bankrolled many a political campaign. Lookup "Business Plot" in Wikipedia.
Likewise, the Eugenics movement, which had a specific willingness to pick on Jews as a "race", was being bankrolled in the US big time.
Henry Ford Sr. was a signer on, having become wealthy from his car making and wanting to make a difference. He made the newspaper in Dearborn MI publish his rants, and before long Jews were thinking twice before buying a Ford.
Fortunately, Ford eventually realized that he had developed garbage views (an occupational hazard if you don't study history much, and he hadn't had the time) and he retreated from his indefensible positions.
Hitler was nonplussed (upset) as he'd been counting on Ford as a serious ally. But then plenty of other wealthy people were willing to fund Eugenics and Nazi projects in particular (they seemed able to do more human subjects experiments), ---- the leading pseudo-science of the day (they were looking for "essence of Aryan" in bodily fluids and other Dr. Strangelove nonsense).
So you have the New Deal and then you have what was happening in Spain and other places, where workers were glomming together and starting to run things more themselves. There was a large co-op movement. Workers were thinking in terms of owning more of the tools of production (collectively) i.e. were thinking more like shareholders.
One could say capitalism has room for all this on paper, in the form of worker owned companies and so on, but the Spanish Civil War was mostly cast as a fight between activist workers using democratic processes (think of Occupy), and the fascist aerial bombers (Hitler and Mussolini -- think weaponized drones of today), who came in and reversed all the reforms, not wanting workers to succeed in this way. They had other plans for more top down control.
Ernest Hemingway was watching all this, along with other Americans and UKers, many of whom had gone to the front to support the Spanish democrats.
Hemingway narrated a film about the vicious onslaught of fascism and showed it in the White House to the Roosevelts.
The Roosevelts could see war with Hilter coming (as could pacifist Bertrand Russell -- see Logicomix), but Wall Street was still thinking of him as their ally, and Mussolini was being published in Saturday Evening Post, with plenty of accolades.
There's something of ancient Imperial Rome in the breast of the manifest-destiny USAer (and UKer), that wants a Fourth Reich (given the Germans blew it) and puppets Washington DC to those ends even unto our own time.
Another interesting character was Ho Chi Minh (also Gen. Aung San in Burma, but for another day). Muhammad Ali was sad to not meet the guy.
Fighting the Japanese during the WW2 chapter meant working closely with the Vietnamese liberation movement, the nationalists, who wanted something more like a Jeffersonian democracy, out from under the thumb of the French. A fair number of OSS were operative in Hanoi, plus there was "quiet American" Gen. Lansdale with a history of psycho-guerrilla warfare in the Philippines as well (shades of Smedley Butler). Many in the OSS (later renamed CIA) were happy enough with Ho's planning and leadership.
When the Dulles brothers came to power and the US suddenly "switched sides" (helping to rebuild Japan and Germany while agreeing with the French they could keep their colony in Indochina), not all of the intelligence community switched sides in unison. You got the phenomenon of the "Americong" some have called them, who continued to support the nationalist agenda of "Our Ho" (as one novel about this period is entitled -- by a political conservative they tell me (I've not read it yet, maybe wait for the movie)).
Making the Russians be the bad guys all of a sudden, after working with them against fascism, also seemed like a betrayal to more than a few people, which probably has something to do with Gary Powers showing up on Russian television and embarrassing the heck out of Eisenhower and his more amateur crew (read Col. F. Prouty on the U2 incident for more insights).
I give all this history because I think in the election of the Obamas last time, there was a public yearning for more of an FDR like Renaissance, where the government did more WPA and CCC like stuff.
The growth in military spending was seen as more hijacking by Business Plot fascists, who just want to feather their own nests with war contracts, USAers be damned. It's the same group that wanted Gen. Butler to be the figurehead, except as it turned out, they got a succession of presidents who made it easier to be "bad" (as in greedy), with "terrorism" replacing "communism" as the new bugaboo.
Today, we have Occupy somewhat in the role of the Bonus Army of 1932, as it includes lots of vets back from the Business Plot wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They're doing a lot of what Viet Nam era vets did as well, which is to call into questions the policies of the federal government in Washington DC.
In today's multi-polar world, one of the net effects is that WDC is demoted to "just one more town" and the various states start to develop their own foreign policies (trade relations). They also go their own way on the Drug Wars, with "she flies with her own wings" Oregon (in cahoots with California and others) openly flaunting the Feds authority to continue Prohibition, and also pushing back against "anti-terrorism" that tends to be fascism in disguise at least some of the time. Immigration policy is another dividing line, where the Feds are sometimes ignored.
Here in Portland, PSU has contracts with Intel to help with the training of personnel from Viet Nam who will be working for Intel in Ho Chi Minh city. We have pretty good relations with China thanks to Northwest Regional China Council (a former client -- may have changed its name). We're economically part of Asia.
Haim says I'm not entitled to think of myself as Asian for irrelevant "racial" (i.e. genetic) reasons, but that's where we part company. I couldn't do coherent ethnography the way I do were I to buy into the "race" concept most people use. It's rickety, based in pseudo-science, and being phased out, though words like "white" and "black" are not without meaning, even in a medical context (that doesn't point to "races" being real, it points to demographics being real, and statistical correlations between genetic markers (which don't need to add up to "races" to be significant)).
Anyway, it'd be interesting to see how Haim's analysis, continuing from where he left off, informs his History of the Education Mafia in the USA. That might prove enlightening.