Initially elated that the US Social Forum in Detroit had indeed included a workshop on who decides war, being that so many of us Veterans For Peace had been calling for a workshop on capitalism, we tuned in to listen to the five live segments of Who Decides When the U.S. Goes to War and What Can We Do About It? posted on Kevin Zeese's Peace Perspectives Newsletter:
Disappointingly the panel and the questions afterward actually studiously avoided discussion of the root cause of wars, which has long been known to be capitalist economy's desperate need for war during its now century long imperialist phase.
In segment #3 Kevin Zeese, to his credit reviews American drive for war during its early history, but without mentioning capitalism, and strangely ceases his review of American war history at the point where owners of the majority of U.S. banks and industries led by Rockefeller, Henry Ford and Dupont invest in turning an initially prostrate Nazi Germany into the world's foremost military power, fully aware of Hitler's hatred of Jews and communists and plans for expansion eastward, bringing about the greatest profit from war in the history of the world. A gargantuan war profit that would give the U.S. hegemony over most of the planet.
In segment #1 moderator Ben Manski of the Green Party eloquently opens the workshop for the panel to answer questions:
1. "What is the Problem?"
Kevin Zeese expounds well that it is imperialism, war on automatic pilot, but one awaits in vain explanation of what is the cause of our imperialism.
2. "What are the Two Essential Reforms to Prevent War." [A disinforming question? What is it that is to be reformed? The government corporatism has thrown up? How shall the plutocracy passed off to be a democracy be reformed or be made not to block reform. Or is it Kevin Zeese's well described empire that is to be reformed in two strokes? Why is the number of "essential reforms" put at "two?"]
Zeese answers what would be the two reforms, in part: "Stop the reckless killing of civilians." and "Break the grip of the corporate power controlling war."
[stopping the "reckless killing of civilians" would seem to mean to just kill the armed indigenous defenders of their US invaded nations.' How this shall "prevent war" is a mystery to the viewer. Seems it would make war less messy and efficient? Make war more successful and acceptable at home? Improve the method of war in other peoples lands?]
"Break the grip of corporate power controlling war" Was Kevin's proposed second essential reform. But who on earth is going to bell the cat? Certainly not this collection of young progressive capitalists simplistically calling for reform of the empire, reform of the government of the empire, reform of the military of the empire, and, naively, to reform the beastly corporate mindless machine as if it would allow itself to be taken down without our filling the streets as in Toronto this week.
All four panelists list bad things that should be opposed. Ben Manski proposes work to halt the use of the National Guard, David Swanson, author of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, says we must "democratize the economy and media," but gives no suggestion how. Zeese, that we need an independent political party and to destroy one of the two parties presently ruling (even thought three of the panelists represent the independent Green Party already existing. Leah Bolger, a retired U.S. Navy Commander with Veterans for Peace, says remind the people of what we could do with the money spent on wars. George Martin, former co-chair of United For Peace and Justice is proud of his work for Obama's election (even though we remember candidate Obama's promises to escalate the war in Afghanistan, start bombing Pakistan and be always ready to accept civilian casualties during his air strikes.)
In the five segments "capitalism' is not mentioned. And oddly enough the question in the workshop title of 'who decides war' went begging. It could have been useful to hear about the usual attempts to answer, to describe what part of the cabal that runs the nation and much of the world might be designated. The Council on Foreign Relations? David Rockefeller? (Said to have a massive four-foot-by-five-foot gold wheel Rolodex in his office containing up to 150,000 entries of the most powerful people in the world.)
His founded Trilateral Commission? The Bilderberg Group? The Owners of the Federal Reserve Banks in collusion with the Bank of England?
What is not lost on us socialists and other non-capitalists in the U.S. and elsewhere, who point to the centuries of homicidal crimes of capitalism, hearing all these fine righteous words full time American activists for peace, what is not lost on the Fidelistas, the Chavistas, the followers of Evo Morales, and the millions in Latin America who look to six elected presidents following the successful example of Cuba confronting the empire by denouncing capitalism along with its imperialism, not lost on those who listen to Ahmadinejad lecturing that capitalism is finished but warning that it's powerful bankers and politicians are desperate and dangerous, not lost on the Maoist Prime Minister of Nepal, who resigned rather than sell out his people, what is not lost on the Communist Party leadership of China calculating how much to cooperate, collaborate and give slack to the monster U.S. military-financial empire overextended and destroying itself
and thus sparing China attack, what is not lost on the people of the world, is that Americans, even those that profess opposition to empire and war are unwilling to voice any opposition to the private capitalist system nor join the grassroots socialism which is arising outside the U.S. and in opposition to their country's predatory economic system.
But why not? Albert Einstein who called himself a socialist did! And a dying Maynard Keynes, the most famous fixer-upper of capitalism said, "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone." (including, of course, make wars, whether in Muslim countries or in Vietnam, Korea, Latin America, Africa or Europe.)
The workshop title might have included the other side of the question, namely, who decides when wars stop when they are no longer profitable?
In the case of Vietnam, anti-war protesters took much credit, having caused President Johnson to resign. Nixon took over and continued it for years and when the business community became hard pressed by the Japanese producing wealth in peace, the physical war ended. The progressives went home while the U.S. punished the Vietnamese with greater suffering than before with international arranged economic warfare and looked to war escapades elsewhere.
Anticapitalists socialists and communists continued to work on against imperialism and its mother, private capitalism, and will continue to do so even after capitalists withdraw their forces from this present losing war in Afghanistan.