- Capitalism and Alternatives -

U.S. Imperialism: A Primer

Posted by: Porgie Tirebiter on December 11, 1999 at 21:26:35:

Some people on this site echo a refrain that runs throughout American culture. The idea goes like this: Leftists must be wrong in what they're saying for no other reason than they have the right to say it.
Accompanying this is the idea that America gives aid to other countries, but these countries turn into "welfare bums." Both of these ideas are indicative of to what extent the U.S. must indoctrinate their citizens, for the truth is that the aid that the U.S. gives to countries actually works to the detriment of most people in those countries. Also, America's freedoms, the rights it grants its citizens, are only the rights it can afford. Here's a basic outline of how it works all around the world:

Say you're the president of a relatively poorer nation in the Third World, and you're being solicited by the vastly walthy USA: "Would you perhaps be interested in a generous, low-interest loan?" Well, sure, it might help you avoid a coup or something. You accept the loan.

Unfortunately, the interest on this loan turns out to be more steep than you'd imagined. But the USA steps in with an offer: They're willing to refinance the loan, if you will agree to restructure a sector of your economy to make it more profitable, thus enabling you to meet your interest. Your country has plenty of arable land, but most of it is given over to indigenous agriculture (enough to feed the population, but with little surplus left over). This is not a terribly profitable state of affairs. So, the USA suggests--through its lending institutions, its trade and agriculture departments, etc.--transforming these smaller farms into larger farms that grow cash crops like coffee, cotton and tobacco for export sale. In fact, the USA is generously prepared to buy these exports from you (provided your prices are "fair" to the US).

You agree, and proceed to dispossess your small farmers of their land and turn them into wage laborers on large cash-crop farms. (In the Soviet Union under Stalin, this was called "forced collectivization"; under US sponsorship, it's called "modernization." But in order to have effective large scale agriculture of cash crops, you will need advanced farm machinery and the latest chemical fertilizers and insecticides. The USA, always a helping hand, is more than willing to float you new loans to buy these goods--on the condition that you purchase them from US manufacturers.

In order to pay the interest on these new devts, as well as on the old, you must increase the scope of your large-scale, cash crop agriculture program. To this end, more and more small, food-producing farms are brought up, taken by decree, or foreclosed upon by your own local lending institutions. More people are dispossessed, and those that cannot find work on the farms travel to the cities to work for miserable wages in factories that the USA has compassionately decided to set up in your country.

But this is good news to you and your country's "business leaders." At last you can raise enough money to pay off some of that interest!"

Unfortunately, you no longer grow enough food at home to feed your populace. Too bad they can't eat coffee! But the USA, always alert to signs of people in trouble, steps in with the offer to loan you enough money to buy as much food as you require. (These are called "agricultural credits." Now, at least some food is coming in, but the interest payments on all these loans are ballooning. In fact, your getting a little in arrears!

After thus far demonstrating the patience of a saint, US lending institutions finally step in and declare you have been insufficiently "disciplined" in the way you run your economy. They now decree that you must institute "austerity" measures (essentially lower social spending and state-decreed wage cuts) in order to meet a minimum percentage of your interest payments. Of course, you can't let things like labor unions disturb the process of cutting wages and benefits! Therefore, militant trade union leaders, human rights activists, communists, and other trouble makers must be covertly terrorized by "security forces" (death squads) that the US is willing to help you arm and train. America will even grant you an additional loan so you can buy the American helicopters out of which you can throw union militants and their wives and children.

At the end of this process, your country has become, quite literally, the economic and policial SLAVE of the United States, while out of this same process the US has made what is aptly referred to as a "killing." Food is so inexpensive in the UNited States not because capitalism is so efficient, but because other people around the world are compelled to purchase it as well. Amerika fattens itself on the misery of the many, and passes the savings on to us, the consumers.

A quick look at the news will show that any country which attempts to extricate itself from the US dominated global system does so at its own peril The examples abound, and include Vietnam, Cuba, Nicaragua and Chile. In Chile, as we all know, the CIA assisinated the democratically elected socialist Allende and supported the murderous Pinochet. Allende was about to nationalize Chile's mines, which were US property, even though they were in Chile!

Now, while countries in, say, South America do in fact hold "democratic" elections, it is very rare that any candidate strays from Washington's guidelines.

This the modern day version of gunboat diplomacy, and this is why I say that in America, citizens have all the rights that the bourgeoisie can afford. Ending American imperialism without simultaneously ending American capitalism would mean bringing the death squads home. And this is the famous aid and goodwill that we spread around the world.

Porgie Tirebiter

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