- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Which happening? by whom?

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on April 16, 1999 at 17:49:31:

In Reply to: What is happening over there is a disgrace to the human race and should be stopped. posted by otto on April 16, 1999 at 11:44:26:

: : Isn't the war against Yugoslavia just an example of US state capitalism at work? After all, the people sending the bombs out there have ahold of 48 cents of every dollar I sent the IRS last year, so they're doing pretty brisk business, and they have to try out the hardware they built (especially those B-1 Bombers at $1 billion apiece) so that they know they're building a quality product... Is there really that much of a difference between bombing civilians and feeding them "gut bombs" at McDonalds?

: : Under monopoly all mass culture is identical, and the lines of its artificial framework begin to show through. The people at the top are no longer so interested in concealing monopoly: as its violence becomes more open, so its power grows.

: : Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, from the Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 121

: 1. War in the Balkans does not compare with monopoly unless you mean that ethnic cleanser in Belgrade.

SDF: I don't follow you.

1) Milosevic has no monopoly on "ethnic cleansing" -- witness, for instance, the recent acts of ethnic cleansing that forced all Serbs to leave Croatia, inspired by Franjo Tudjman, or the ethnic cleansing that is being practiced today against the Kurds by the military regime in nearby Turkey, and being funded today by the US Government.

2) Doesn't NATO have a monopoly over the airspace above Yugoslavia? Doesn't the US have a predominant position within NATO? (It sure ain't Greece...) Doesn't the US government have a monopoly over my tax money? Doesn't the Pentagon have a predominant position in their claims to this tax money that used to be mine?

: 2. Mcdonald's does not run a monopoly as long as I can go elsewhere for a different hamburger etc.

SDF: What difference does that make? Is there anything really different about ordering a burger from Burger King or Jack in the Box? You pay your money and take your chances with your health.

I presume you're referring to the use of the word "monopoly" by Horkheimer and Adorno -- what they mean in using such a word is that business in this era has become incomprehensibly big and uniform. I know, it's not a literal use of the word "monopoly." But that's where they're, and I'm, coming from.

: 3. I agree with your description of "gut bombs."

SDF: It's a piece of folklore that came from my uncle.

: 4. What is happening over there is a disgrace to the human race and should be stopped. don't you agree? Next question: Who started it (seems obvious) and how do we settle it before millions and I do mean millions, die?

SDF: No, actually it isn't obvious who "started it". The most likely reality that I've read is that the KLA killed a few Serb cops, the Serbs (led by Milosevic) overreacted by killing a few hundred Albanians, and they were off to the death races.

Nor is it obvious that it is "we" who are settling the current conflict, for if it were "we" who were settling the conflict in the Balkans, then the US and NATO might be sincere in their humanitarian motives in bombing Yugoslavia. Two contraindications:

1) The US has an anti-humanitarian foreign policy elsewhere. In refusing to fund peacekeeping forces in Rwanda, in its non-intervention in the Sudan, in the US-led embargo against Iraq which kills hundreds of thousands, most of them children, today, in its funding of the military regime of Turkey which is today busy ethnically-cleansing its borders of Kurds, in its failure to make amends for the ethnic cleansing of the Maya people of Guatemala, which it funded, in its support of the Nicaraguan Contras, of the old Brazilian dicatorship, of the Shah of Iran, of Pinochet, etc. etc. ad nauseam, the US belies its pretense that it is bombing Yugoslavia for humanitarian reasons. When the apologies are forthcoming, I'll believe.

2) Bombing doesn't itself make dictators "cry uncle". The US bombed the governments in Hanoi and Baghdad how many times, with what effect?

So it would be best to consider that NATO has other-than-humanitarian motives for its bombing, most likely a need to show who's boss, possibly to break the will of one Boris Yeltsin, and to consider them thusly as "them" and not "we."

Should we support "them"? Frankly, I feel pretty helpless before "them."

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