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Roots of War (Capitalism) Not Discussed in "Left'-Right Peace Conference Without Socialists

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It seemed such a wonderful initiative - a Left-Right peace conference, as it was hailed in three articles on the Internet. A Left-Right conference on the wars where peace advocates of opposing political opinions could converse, as Kevin Zeese, in his excellent article, Can the Right and Left Work Together to Oppose War and Empire? OEN, 2/24/10, click here described last month's Across the Political Spectrum Against War and Militarism event in Washington DC.*

However, the confab turns out to have been something less wonderful since it was misleading in purporting participation by the American Left.

Even if unintended, its misappropriating the term Left, belittles and blocks public attention from the heroic efforts of true patriot led antiwar journalism, demonstrations, civil disobedience and conscientious objection in the military by socialists throughout the history of our nation.

No one from America's scholarly Socialist Journals like Monthly Review, Science and Society (internationally respected for their scrupulous documentation), or anyone in the peace movement calling themselves socialist were in attendance. Someone correct this writer if he is wrong in noting that the thinking of The War Resister League, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Maryknoll Catholic Mission was not represented. This would be perfectly Okay, as long as the gathering wasn't touted as representative of the U.S. Left.

One would not expect America conservatives to sit down with the heads of revolutionary antiwar organizations and newspapers, but it is striking to see progressive capitalists representing the Left at a time when American capitalism is not only reducing the world by war but also by extraordinary and amazing elite upper class plundering as well.

Something else is more disappointing than the arrangement avoiding the non-capitalist Left. With only capitalism-supporting and capitalism-accepting participants, one would of course not expect discussion of how wars relate to our capitalist political economy - and according to information provided to this writer by a friend who was one of leaders inviting to participate - it was not.

But for over a hundred and fifty years, critics of capitalism have pointed to capitalist political economy's inherent need for war. America's own Thorstein Veblen assumed depression to be the normal condition in a business-enterprise economy, to be relieved by war and expansion abroad.

The conference, to its credit, discussed the use of the terms "anti-Empire' and "anti-imperialism' but apparently with nary of discussion of capitalism's need for imperialism to continually rejuvenate an otherwise stagnating economy of private capital accumulation, (euphemistically referred to as growth), and wars for resources and hegemony that destroy what can be reconstructed at great profit.
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This need was made very clear with the investments of America's industrialists and financiers backing Mussolini's corporatism and Adolph Hitler's rise with complete knowledge of Nazi German intentions while building it up to be the world's number one military power.

The spectacle of capitalists denouncing imperialism in order to end today's punishing, costly and failing wars reminds one of Businessmen Against The Vietnam War, which was founded as the Japanese were buying up America and fast overtaking its economy.

For certainly now there is a similar consensus building as the Chinese economy is booming and overtaking America's, while ours is busted. How long will it be before withdrawal from occupation wars - unless of course, greater military madness becomes an investment priority?

Just as with Vietnam, before withdrawals, ferocious war propaganda will need to be mitigated to decompress the media-created public demand for war, just as it was in the early 1970's.

And what will happen when our two present troops-on-the-ground wars are ended?
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Once the shooting stopped in Vietnam, the non-socialist peace activists disbanded, crediting themselves (too much) with stopping an unacceptable imperialist war, paying no attention to the years of cruel, terrible suffering causing strangling U.S. international sanctions that were immediately laid on a destroyed Vietnam while other wars continued or were planned.

When the expensive occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq end, will not conscience-bitten antiwar protesters and financially worried establishment anti-imperialists relax and leave it to socialists to confront continued drone attacks and covert proxy wars in nations in and next to oil deposits?

The business community has now to pull the its military-media-government lying chestnuts out of the fire or suffer from the financial drain in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles (more...)

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