Understanding Power: The Essential Noam Chomsky

By Noam Chomsky, Peter Rounda Mitchell and John Schoeffel

To put it mildly, Noam Chomsky is a prolific writer; I have not checked any statistics, but I would venture to say that he has likely penned more books than most people have read. And none of them is hastily thrown together, either; indeed, each one is meticulously cited with references to a variety of sources (a seeming majority of them from the individuals or institutions being criticized). As such, wading through his repertoire can feel like a Herculean feat, with each book taking a nontrivial amount of time to process.

Fortunately, Peter Mitchell and John Schoeffel—with Chomsky’s blessing—have put together a highly digestible volume of discussions, interviews, essays, and other materials which should act as an excellent primer for anyone just beginning to read Chomsky or otherwise looking for an introduction to the overall thoughts and notions of the accomplished dissenter. Topics range from U.S. foreign intervention and popular activism, to anarchy and abortion. And the generally informal settings from which these discussions are taken allows one to get a better feel for the “conversational” Chomsky—as opposed to the academic—and getting the gist of what the linguist is driving at is a tad easier than when reading one of his more “official” works.

The real value of Understanding Power, in my eyes at least, lies in the footnotes: occupying more space than the rest of the book itself, the footnotes contain references, data, and quotations pertaining to nearly every comment made by Chomsky on the aforementioned array of topics. Really, the only frustrating aspect to this book is the urgent desire it engenders in the reader to fully pursue the references all the way to the primary sources—what they imply about the systems of power we live under can often be too stunning to believe.

If you are looking for a gateway into the well-known political commentator and general pebble in the shoe of the powerful, it is hard to imagine a better place to start than with Understanding Power.

Favorite Passages:

  1. A lot of secret internal documents get declassified after thirty years or so, and if you look over the entire long record of them, there’s virtually nothing in there that ever had any security-related concern…The main purpose of secrecy is just to make sure that the general population here doesn’t know what’s going on.
  2. If you want to traumatize people, treason trials are an extreme way—if there are spies running around in our midst, then we’re really in trouble, we’d better just listen to the government and stop thinking. Look, every government has a need to frighten its population, and one way of doing that is to shroud its workings in mystery…See, the idea behind royalty was that there’s this other species of individuals who are beyond the norm and who the people are not supposed to understand. That’s the standard way you cloak and protect power: you make it look mysterious and secret, above the ordinary person—otherwise why should anybody accept it?
  3. So what the media do, in effect, is to take the set of assumptions which express the basic ideas of the propaganda system, whether about the Cold War or the economic system or the “national interest” and so on, and then present a range of debate within that framework—so the debate only enhances the strength of the assumptions, ingraining them in people’s minds as the entire possible spectrum of opinion that there is. So you see, in our system what you might call “state propaganda” isn’t expressed as such, as it would be in a totalitarian society—rather it’s implicit, it’s presupposed, it provides the framework for debate among the people who are admitted into mainstream discussion.
  4. And [media outlets], like other corporations, have a product to sell and a market they want to sell it to: the product is audiences, and the market is advertisers. So the economic structure of a newspaper is that it sells readers to other businesses.
  5. [Our observation] just says that you’d expect institutions to work in their own interests, because if they didn’t they wouldn’t be able to function for very long.
  6. Because control over the government shifts back and forth between various elite groupings in our society, whichever segment of the business community happens to control the government at a particular time reflects only part of an elite political spectrum, within which there are sometimes tactical disagreements. What the “Propaganda Model” in fact predicts is that this entire range of elite perspectives will be reflected in the media—it’s just there will be essentially nothing that goes beyond it.
  7. Well, from just these three initial observations—elite advocacy, prior plausibility, and the public’s perspective—you would at least draw one conclusion: that the “Propaganda Model” ought to be a part of the ongoing debate about how the media function. You would think that would be enough grounds to make it part of the discussion you often hear presented about the media’s role, right? Well, it never is a part of that discussion: the “debate” is always over whether the media are too extreme in their undermining of authority and their criticism of power, or whether they are simply serving their “traditional Jeffersonian role” as a check on power. This other position—which says that there is no “traditional Jeffersonian role,” and that the media, like the intellectual community in general, are basically subservient to power—is never part of the discussion at all.
  8. The press does not make money on people buying newspapers, they lose money on people buying newspapers. But the press is business interests—I mean, the major press is huge corporate interests, the small press is more local business interests, but either way it’s kept alive by other businesses, through advertising.
  9. If a journalist quotes an unnamed “high U.S. government official,” that suffices as evidence. What if they were to quote some dissident, or some official from a foreign government that’s an enemy? Well, they’d have to start digging, and backing it up, and the reporter would have to have mountains of evidence, and expect to pick up a ton of flack, and maybe lose their job, and so on. With factors of that kind, it’s very predictable which way they’re going to go…Part of the structure of corporate capitalism is that the players in the game try to increase profits and market shares—if they don’t do that, they will no longer be players in the game. Any economist knows this: it’s not a conspiracy theory to point that out, it’s just taken for granted as an institutional fact. If someone were to say, “Oh no, that’s a conspiracy theory,” people would laugh. Well, what we’ve been discussing are simply the institutional factors that set the boundaries for reporting and interpretation in the ideological institutions. That’s the opposite of conspiracy theory, it’s just normal institutional analysis, the kind of analysis you do automatically when you’re trying to understand how the world works.
  10. I doubt that any story ever received the kind of fanatical level of coverage as the downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 by the Russians in 1983—that was presented as sure proof that the Russians were the worst barbarians since Attila the Hun, and that we therefore had to install missiles in Germany, and step up the war against Nicaragua, and so on. Well, for the month of September 1983 alone, the New York Times index—you know, the very densely printed index of articles that have appeared in the Times—has seven full pages devoted to this story. That’s the index, for one month alone. The liberal Boston Globe on the first day of coverage had I think its first ten full pages devoted to that story and nothing else. I mean, I didn’t check, but I doubt that even the outbreak of the Second World War had that much coverage. Alright, there were other events that took place in the midst of all of the furor over the K.A.L. flight—for example, the Times devoted one hundred words and no comment to the following fact: U.N.I.T.A., who are the so-called “freedom fighters” supported by the United States and South Africa in Angola, took credit for downing an Angolan civilian jet plane with 126 people killed. Now, there were no ambiguities in this case: the plane wasn’t off course, there was no R.C.-135 confusing the issue [K.A.L. Flight 007 had flown off course into Soviet airspace, and a U.S. Air Force R.C.-135 spy plane had been patrolling the same area earlier that day]. This was just premeditated mass murder—and that deserved a hundred words and no further comment. A few years earlier, in October 1976, a Cuban airliner was bombed by C.I.A.-backed terrorists, killing 73 civilians. How much coverage was there of that? In 1973, Israel downed a civilian plane lost in a sandstorm over the Suez Canal with 100 people killed. There was no protest, only editorial comments about—I’m quoting from the Times—how “no useful purpose is served by an acrimonious debate over the assignment of blame.”
  11. My Lai was presented as if it was a bunch of crazy grunts who got out of control because they were being directed by this Lieutenant Calley, who was kind of a madman. That you can handle. But that’s not what My Lai was about. My Lai was a footnote, My Lai was an uninteresting footnote to a military operation called Operation WHEELER WALLAWA—which was a huge mass-murder operation, in which B-52 raids were targeted right on villages. That wasn’t Lieutenant Calley, that was a guy in Washington plotting out coordinates. You know what a B-52 raid is? That means wipe out everything—and it was targeted right on villages. In comparison to that, My Lai doesn’t exist. In fact, there was a military commission that reviewed My Lai, the Piers Commission, and their most dramatic finding was that there were massacres like My Lai all over the place. For instance, they found another massacre in My Khe, which is about four kilometers down the road—everywhere they looked they found another massacre. Well, what does that tell you? What does that suggest to you, if everywhere you look you find a My Lai? It suggests something, but what it suggests was never brought out in the media.
  12. Look, there is no such thing as a “volunteer army”: a “volunteer army” is a mercenary army of the poor. Take a look at the Marines—what you see is black faces, from the ghettos.
  13. Pick your term: if it’s a term that has any significance whatsoever—like not “and” or “or”—it typically has two meanings, a dictionary meaning and a meaning that’s used for ideological warfare. So, “terrorism” is only what other people do. What’s called “Communism” is supposed to be “the far left”: in my view, it’s the far right, basically indistinguishable from fascism. These guys that everybody calls “conservative,” any conservative would turn over in their grave at the sight of them—they’re extreme statists, they’re not “conservative” in any traditional meaning of the word. “Special interests” means labor, women, blacks, the poor, the elderly, the young—in other words, the general population. There’s only one sector of the population that doesn’t ever get mentioned as a “special interest,” and that’s corporations, and business in general—because they’re the “national” Or take “defense”: I have never heard of a state that admits it’s carrying out an aggressive act, they’re always engaged in “defense,” no matter what they’re doing—maybe “preemptive defense” or something.
  14. One of the major scholarly books on the Cold War is called Strategies of Containment, by John Lewis Gaddis—it’s the foremost scholarly study by the top diplomatic historian, so it’s worth taking a look at. Well, in discussing this great theme, “strategies of containment,” Gaddis begins by talking about the terminology. He says at the beginning: it’s true that the term “containment” begs some questions, yes it presupposes some things, but nevertheless, despite the question of whether it’s factually accurate, it still is proper to adopt it as the framework for discussion. And the reason why it’s proper is because it was the perception of American leaders that they were taking a defensive position against the Soviet Union—so, Gaddis concludes, since that was the perception of American leaders, and since we’re studying American history, it’s fair to continue in that framework. Well, just suppose some diplomatic historian tried that with the Nazis. Suppose somebody were to write a book about German history and say, “Well, look, Hitler and his advisors certainly perceived their position as defensive”—which is absolutely true: Germany was under “attack” by the Jews, remember. Go back and look at the Nazi literature, they had to defend themselves against this virus, this bacillus that was eating away at the core of modern civilization—and you’ve got to defend yourself, after all. And they were under “attack” by the Czechs, and by the Poles, and by European encirclement. That’s not a joke. In fact, they had a better argument there than we do with the Soviet Union—they were encircled, and “contained,” and they had this enormous Versailles debt stuck on them for no reason after World War I. Okay, so suppose somebody wrote a book saying: “Look, the Nazi leadership perceived themselves as taking a defensive stance against external and internal aggression; it’s true it begs some questions, but we’ll proceed that way—now we’ll talk about how they defended themselves against the Jews by building Auschwitz, and how they defended themselves against the Czechs by invading Czechoslovakia, how they defended themselves against the Poles, and so on.” If anybody tried to do that, you wouldn’t even bother to laugh—but about the United States, that’s the only thing you can say: it’s not just that it’s acceptable, it’s that anything else is unacceptable.
  15. Yeah, population control is another issue where it doesn’t matter if you do it, everybody has to do it. It’s like traffic: I mean, you can’t make driving a car survivable by driving well yourself; there has to be kind of a social contract involved, otherwise it won’t work. Like, if there was no social contract involved in driving—everybody was just driving like a lethal weapon, going as fast as they can and forgetting all the traffic lights and everything else—you couldn’t make that situation safe just by driving well yourself: it doesn’t make much difference if you set out to drive safely if everybody else is driving lethal-weapon, right? The trouble is, that’s the way that capitalism works. The nature of the system is that it’s supposed to be driven by greed; no one’s supposed to be concerned for anybody else, nobody’s supposed to worry about the common good—those are not things that are supposed to motivate you, that’s the principle of the system. The theory is that private vices lead to public benefits—that’s what they teach you in economics departments. It’s all bullshit, of course, but that’s what they teach you. And as long as the system works that way, yeah, it’s going to self-destruct.
  16. The internal documentary record in the United States goes way back, and it says the same thing over and over again. Here’s virtually a quote: the main commitment of the United States, internationally in the Third World, must be to prevent the rise of nationalist regimes which are responsive to pressures from the masses of the population for improvement in low living standards and diversification of production; the reason is, we have to maintain a climate that is conductive to investment, and to ensure conditions which allow for adequate repatriation of profits to the West…So the nationalism we oppose doesn’t need to be left-wing—we’re just as much opposed to right-wing I mean, when there’s a right-wing military coup which seeks to turn some Third World country on a course of independent development, the United States will also try to destroy that government—we opposed Perón in Argentina, for example. So despite what you always hear, U.S. interventionism has nothing to do with resisting the spread of “Communism,” it’s independence we’ve always been opposed to everywhere—and for quite a good reason. If a country begins to pay attention to its own population, it’s not going to be paying adequate attention to the overriding needs of U.S. investors. Well, those are unacceptable priorities, so that government’s just going to have to go.
  17. It takes only a moment’s thought to realize that the areas that have been the most under U.S. control are some of the most horrible regions in the world…I mean, if a peasant in Guatemala woke up in Poland [i.e. under Soviet occupation], he’d think he was in heaven by comparison—and Guatemala’s an area where we’ve had a hundred years of influence…Or look at Brazil: potentially extremely rich country with tremendous resources, except it had the curse of being part of the Western system of subordination. So in northeast Brazil, for example, which is a rather fertile area with plenty of rich land, just it’s all owned by plantations, Brazilian medical researchers now identify the population as a new species with about 40 percent the brain size of human beings, a result of generations of profound malnutrition and neglect—and this may be un-remediable except after generations, because of the lingering effects of malnutrition on one’s offspring. Alright, that’s a good example of the legacy of our commitments, and the same kind of pattern runs throughout the former Western colonies.
  18. The countries that have developed economically are those which were not colonized by the West; every country that was colonized by the West is a total wreck. I mean, Japan was the one country that managed to resist European colonization, and it’s the one part of the traditional Third World that developed. Okay, Europe conquered everything except Japan, and Japan developed. What does that tell you? Historians of Africa have actually pointed out that if you look at Japan when it began its industrialization process [in the 1870s], it was at about the same developmental level as the Asante kingdom in West Africa in terms of resources available, level of state formation, degree of technological development, and so on. Well, just compare those two areas today.
  19. The arms race also plays a crucial role in keeping the economy going—and that’s a big problem. Suppose that the arms race really did decline: how would you force the taxpayers to keep subsidizing high-technology industry like they’ve been doing for the past fifty years? Is some politician going to get up and say, “Alright, next year you’re going to lower your standard of living, because you have to subsidize I.B.M. so that it can produce fifth-generation computers”?…Social spending increases the danger of democracy—it threatens to increase popular involvement in decision-making. For example, if the government gets involved, say around here, in building hospitals and schools and roads and things like that, people are going to get interested in it, and they’ll want to have a say in it—because it affects them, and is related to their lives. On the other hand, if the government says, “We’re going to build a Stealth Bomber,” nobody has any opinions. People care about where there’s going to be a school or a hospital, but they don’t care about what kind of jet plane you build—because they don’t have the foggiest idea about that. And since one of the main purposes of social policy is to keep the population passive, people with power are going to want to eliminate anything that tends to encourage the population to get involved in planning—because popular involvement threatens the monopoly of power by business, and it also stimulates popular organizations, and mobilizes people, and probably would lead to redistribution of profits, and so on.
  20. You can’t reduce taxes much—because what else is going to keep the economy going? Remember, it’s been known since the Great Depression that anything like free-market capitalism is a total disaster; it can’t work. Therefore every country in the world that has a successful economy is somewhere close to fascism—that is, with massive government intervention in the economy to coordinate it and protect it from hostile forces such as too much competition. I mean, there just is no other way to do it really: if you pulled that rug out from under private enterprise, we’d go right back into the Depression again. That’s why every industrial economy has a massive state sector…In fact, just take a look at the parts of the American economy that are competitive internationally: it’s agriculture, which gets massive state subsidies; the cutting edge of high-tech industry, which is paid for by the Pentagon; and the pharmaceutical industry, which is heavily subsidized through public science funding—those are the parts of the economy that function competitively. And the same thing is true of every other country in the world: the successful economies are the ones that have a big government sector. I mean capitalism is fine for the Third World—we love them to be inefficient. But we’re not going to accept it. And what’s more, this has been true since the beginnings of the industrial revolution: there is not a single economy in history that developed without extensive state intervention, like high protectionist tariffs and subsidies and so on. In fact, all the things we prevent the Third World from doing have been the prerequisites for development everywhere else.
  21. [Discussions by planners upon the ending of WWII] Should the government pursue military spending or social spending? Well it was quickly made very clear in those discussions that the route that government spending was going to have to take was military. And that was not for reasons of economic efficiency, nothing of the sort—it was just for straight power reasons, like the ones I mentioned: military spending doesn’t redistribute wealth, it’s not democratizing, it doesn’t create popular constituencies or encourage people to get involved in decision-making…And the public is not supposed to know about it. So as the first Secretary of the Air Force, Stuart Symington, put the matter very plainly back in 1948, he said: “The word to use is not ‘subsidy,’ the word to use is ‘security.’” In other words, if you want to make sure that the government can finance the electronics industry, and the aircraft industry, and computers, and metallurgy, machine tools, chemicals, and so on and so forth, and you don’t want the general public trying to have a say in any of it, you have to maintain a pretense of constant security threats—and they can be Russia, they can be Libya, they can be Grenada, Cuba, whatever’s around…In fact, I’ve been arguing for years with friends of mine who are campaigning for “conversion” of the economy from military production to social spending that they’re basically talking nonsense. I mean, it’s not that business has to be told “for this many jet planes we could have this many schools, isn’t it awful to build jet planes?” You don’t have to convince the head of General Motors of that: he knew that forty years before anyone started talking about “conversion,” that’s why he wanted jet planes. There is no point in explaining to people in power that “conversion” would be better for the world. Sure it would. What do they care? They knew that long ago, that’s why they went in the opposite direction. Look: this system was designed, with a lot of conscious and intelligent thought, for the particular purpose that it serves. So any kind of “conversion” will just have to be part of a total restructuring of the society, designed to undermine centralized control. And I mean, you’re going to need an alternative—it’s not enough just to cut off the Pentagon budget, that’s just going to make the economy collapse, because the economy is dependent on it. Something else has to happen unless you just want to go back to the Stone Age. So the first thing simply has to be creating a culture and an institutional structure in which public funds can be used for social needs, for human needs. That’s the mistake that a lot of the “conversion” people make, in my opinion: they’re just identifying what’s obvious, they’re not focusing enough on creating the basis for an alternative.
  22. It’s not that the people in the corporations are bad people, it’s that the institutional necessity of the system is to maintain corporate domination and profit-making. I mean, if the Chairman of General Motors suddenly decided to start producing the best quality cars at the cheapest prices, he wouldn’t be Chairman any longer—there’d be a shift on the stock market and they’d throw him out in five minutes.
  23. Well, every one of these confrontations with Libya has been timed for some domestic purpose. The big one, the bombing of Libya in April 1986, was timed for the contra aid vote in Congress—the point was to build up a lot of hysteria beforehand, and it kind of worked: they rammed through a big aid package a month or two later. It was all a complete set-up, totally prefabricated. First, a confrontation was arranged in which Libyan artillery guns fired at a U.S. fighter plane. You’ll notice that somehow it’s always the S. Navy or the U.S. Air Force that Libya is shooting at—they never shoot at Italian planes, or French planes, or Spanish planes, it’s always American planes. Well, what’s the reason? One possibility is the Libyans are insane: they go after the people who are going to wipe them out. The other possibility is that the Americans are trying to get shot at, which is of course the truth. The reason the Libyans only shoot at American planes is because American planes are sent over there to get shot at; nobody else sends planes into the Gulf of Sidra, because there’s no point in doing it, so therefore they don’t get shot at…The beginning phase of the 1986 confrontation occurred when American planes penetrated Libyan territorial air space and finally got shot at—happily, because they know they’re never actually going to be hit by the Libyan air defenses. They then flew back to the fleet, and the American Navy bombed a bunch of Libyan navy vessels and killed lots of Libyans. That was great, a real victory…Okay, half an hour later [after the last A.P. release prior to the Libyan bombing justified by suspected connections to the Berlin disco bombing], at precisely 7 P.M.—rather crucial, it was at 7 P.M. precisely—the United States started bombing Libya. Why 7 P.M.? Because that’s when the national news started on the three U.S. television networks: this was the first bombing in history ever timed for prime-time television, and I mean that literally. It was a tricky operation to arrange: you had to synchronize a six-hour flight from England so that a squadron of F-111 bombers would arrive in Libya precisely at 7 P.M., when the three national networks began their newscasts. They had to travel all the way across the Mediterranean, two planes had to turn around, and so on, but still they hit it precisely at 7—that means there had to have been extremely careful planning: they didn’t want the bombing to start at ten after seven, say, because that would have lost the effect. Now every journalist who isn’t totally insane knew that this was a setup: I mean, how likely is it that you would get a bombing at 7 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, precisely on the nose? And if you watched the news that evening, some of you will remember that the anchormen, Peter Jennings and those guys, started off by saying: “Alright, we’re going to switch over to Tripoli”—then they switched over to Tripoli, and there was the whole A.B.C. news team. What the hell were they doing in Tripoli? They’re never in Tripoli. Well, they were in Tripoli because they knew perfectly well there was going to be a bombing, that’s why. I mean, they didn’t know the exact minute, but everybody was in place in Tripoli because they knew the place was going to be bombed. Of course, they all pretended it was this big surprise.
  24. In fact, the B.B.C. also presented some further interesting information. If you were following all this at the time, you’ll remember that there was a very dramatic story told in the U.S. media after the disco bombing about how the United States had picked up secret intercepts that Libya was going to bomb some target in West Berlin just before the bombing, so they had declared an alert and were running around to all the places U.S. soldiers go in West Berlin, and they got to the discotheque just fifteen minutes too late—you remember that story? It turns out it was a total fabrication. The B.B.C. investigated it: neither the German intelligence and police nor any Western embassy had ever heard about it—it was all completely fabricated.
  25. Remember the Pentagon’s version of why we had to bomb Libya the first time: it was that American planes had been flying over the Gulf of Sidra to establish our right to be there, they were in international waters forty miles off the Libyan coast, they detected Libyan planes pursuing them, they disabled the Libyan radar, then in international waters, the Libyans shot at our planes—therefore we had to shoot them down and sink their naval boats, and ultimately bomb Tripoli a few days later and kill lots of Libyan civilians. That was the Pentagon’s story. Well, a couple days after that, a guy named David Blundy went to Libya to investigate the story, and he discovered the following. It turns out that at the time of the first American attack, there were a bunch of British engineers in Libya who were there making repairs on the Libyan radar systems—it was Russian radar, but the Russians couldn’t figure out how to fix it, so they had to call in British engineers to fix it. So these engineers were there working on the radar, and by the time of the incident with the American fighter planes, the radar was working perfectly well and they were in fact monitoring the whole episode right as it transpired. And what they claim is that the American planes were not in international waters, they had in fact flown directly over Libyan ground territory: they had followed Libyan commercial jets at first so they wouldn’t be picked up on radar, then they revealed themselves when they were over Libyan ground territory, and at that point they picked up ground fire. And the purpose just had to be to elicit Libyan ground fire. Then when they’d been shot at, they went back out to sea and bombed the boats and shot down the planes and so on. Well, that has never been reported in the United States. And that was very cautious non-reporting—because the New York Times and others just had to have been aware of this story, they just never mentioned any of this information.
  26. [After the World Court issued a decision ordering the United States to end its actions against Nicaragua] the commentary across the board in the U.S.—the New York Times, the Washington Post, big international law experts—was unanimous: the World Court has discredited itself by passing this judgment, so obviously we don’t have to pay any attention to it. It just discredits the World Court to criticize the United States—that’s like a truism here. Then right after that, when the U.N. Security Council called on all states to observe international law—not referring to the United States, but obliquely referring to this World Court decision—and it was vetoed by the United States (11 to 1, with 3 abstentions); and when the General Assembly also passed the same resolution, the first time 94 to 3 (Israel, El Salvador, and the United States), the next time 94 to 2 (Israel and the United States)—the press wouldn’t even report it. Well, that’s what it means to be a great power: you do whatever you feel like.
  27. [The press] won’t report things like [the United States’ increasing isolation from the rest of the world]—and again, that follows pretty logically from the nature of the press institutions themselves. In fact, the way that the U.S. press covers United Nations votes gives a very good illustration of how it works. So for example, when the U.N. has a vote denouncing the ongoing Russian invasion of Afghanistan in November 1987, that they put on the front page. But when the U.N. has a vote in the same session, in fact within a few days, calling on all states to observe international law—this very muted resolution after the World Court decision, it didn’t even mention the United States directly—then they won’t put it on the front page, in fact they won’t put it anywhere.
  28. The General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the banning of all weapons in outer space, Star Wars—it went through 154 to 1, the U.S. was the 1. They passed a resolution against the development of new weapons of mass destruction; it was 135 to 1. They passed one calling for a nuclear test freeze; it was 137 to 3, the United States picked up England and France on that one. And so it went. Do you think any of that made the newspapers in the United States? No because that’s just the wrong story. The story is “Reagan the Peacemaker,” not “The United States is alone in the world, isolated in the world in attempting to maintain the arms race”—that’s not the story.
  29. [At a talk in 1989] See, capitalism is not fundamentally racist—it can exploit racism for its purposes, but racism isn’t built into it. Capitalism basically wants people to be interchangeable cogs, and differences among them, such as on the basis of race, usually are not functional. I mean, they may be functional for a period, like if you want a super-exploited workforce or something, but those situations are kind of anomalous. Over the long term, you can expect capitalism to be anti-racist—just because it’s anti-human. And race is in fact a human characteristic—there’s no reason why it should be a negative characteristic, but it is a human characteristic. So therefore identifications based on race interfere with basic ideal that people should be available just as consumers and producers, interchangeable cogs who will purchase all of the junk that’s produced—that’s their ultimate function, and any other properties they might have are kind of irrelevant, and usually a nuisance. So in this respect, I think you can expect that anti-apartheid moves will be reasonably well supported by the mainstream institutions in the United States. And over the long term, I suspect that apartheid in South Africa will break down—just for functional reasons. Of course, it’s going to be really rough, because white privilege in South Africa is extreme, and the situation of blacks is grotesque. But over time, I assume that the apartheid system will erode—and I think we should press very hard to make that happen: like, one doesn’t turn against the Civil Rights Movement because you realize that business interests are in favor of it. That’s kind of not the point.
  30. See, libertarian structures are not very resilient—they can easily be wiped out by violence, whereas tough authoritarian structures can often survive that violence; in fact, one of the effects of violence is to magnify the power of authoritarian groups. For example, suppose we came under physical attack here—suppose a bunch of gangsters came and wanted to kill us, and we had to find a way to survive. I suspect that what we would do (at least what I would do) is to look for whoever around here is the toughest bastard, and put them in charge—because they’d be the most likely to help us survive. That’s what you do if you want to survive a hostile attack: you subject yourself to power and authority, and to people who know how to fight. That’s in fact the result of a hostile attack: the ones left in command at the end are the elements who were capable of surviving, and usually they survived because they’re very violent. Well, our attack on Vietnam was extraordinarily violent, and the more constructive National Liberation Front in South Vietnam just couldn’t survive it, but the tough authoritarian regime of the North could—so it took over.
  31. If you really want to be serious about it—let’s say a million people died in the Pol Pot years, let’s take a higher number—it’s worth bearing in mind that when the United States stopped its attacks on inner Cambodia in 1975, American and other Western officials predicted that in the aftermath, about a million more Cambodians would die just from the effects of the American war. At the time that the United States withdrew from Cambodia, people were dying from starvation in the city of Phnom Penh alone—forget the rest of the country—at the rate of 100,000 a year. The last U.S. A.I.D. mission in Cambodia predicted that there would have to be two years of slave labor and starvation before the country could even begin to get moving again. So while the number of deaths you should attribute to the United States during the Pol Pot period isn’t a simple calculation to make, obviously it’s a lot—when you wipe out a country’s agricultural system and drive a million people out of their homes and into a city as refugees, yeah, a lot of people are going to die. And the responsibility for their deaths is not with the regime that took over afterwards, it’s with the people who made it that way.
  32. Woman: But I want to point out that you’ve told us about a number of books this weekend which support some of the contentions you’re making: you would not know a lot of these things if you hadn’t read that material. That’s right—but you see, that’s a reflection of privilege, not a reflection of intellectual life. The fact is that if you’re at a university, you’re very privileged. For one thing, contrary to what a lot of people say, you don’t have to work all that hard. And you control your own work—I mean, maybe you decide to work eighty hours a week, but you decide which eighty hours. That makes a tremendous difference: it’s one of the few domains where you control your own work. And furthermore, you have a lot of resources—you’ve got training, you know how to use a library, you see the ads for books so you know which books are probably worth reading, you know there are declassified documents because you learned that in school somewhere, and you know how to find them because you know how to use a reference library. And that collection of skills and privileges gives you access to a lot of information. But it has nothing to do with being “intellectual”: there are plenty of people in the universities who have all of this stuff, and use all these things, and they do clerical work. Which is perfectly possible—you can get the declassified documents, and you can copy them, and compare them, and then make a notation about some footnote referring to something else. That’s in fact most of the scholarship in these fields—take a look at the monographs sometime, there’s not a thought in people’s heads. I think there’s less real intellectual work going on in a lot of university departments than there is in trying to figure out what’s the matter with my car, which requires some creativity.
  33. In our society, we have thing that you might use your intelligence on, like politics, but people really can’t get involved in them in a very serious way—so what they do is they put their minds into other things, such as sports. You’re trained to be obedient; you don’t have an interesting job; there’s no work around for you that’s creative; in the cultural environment you’re a passive observer of usually pretty tawdry stuff; political and social life are out of your range, they’re in the hands of the rich folk. So what’s left? Well, one thing that’s left is sports—so you put a lot of the intelligence and the thought and the self-confidence into that. And I suppose that’s also one of the basic functions it serves in the society in general: it occupies the population, and keeps them from trying to get involved with things that really matter.
  34. [After the Nicaraguan elections of 1990, won by U.S.-supported Violeta Chamorro] the Boston Globe, which is a very liberal newspaper…had a headline: “Rallying to Chamorro.” The theme was, okay, now all the people who love Nicaraguans, like we’ve all done all these years, must rally to Chamorro. Well, say it was 1964, after Goldwater lost the Presidential race here two to one—can you imagine anybody saying, “Okay, now every Goldwater voter must ‘rally to Johnson’”? That’s straight out of Stalinist Russia. You don’t “rally to the leader” in a democracy—you do whatever you feel like doing. But the idea that you’ve got to rally behind der Führer is quite acceptable in the American liberal press.
  35. Look, anyone can see, a ten-year-old could see, that an election carried out under conditions where a monstrous superpower is saying, “Vote for our candidate or starve to death,” is obviously not free. I mean, if some unimaginable superpower were to threaten us, saying, “We’re going to reduce you to the level of Ethiopia unless you vote for our candidate,” and then people here voted for their candidate, you’d have to be some kind of crazy Nazi or something to say that it was a free election. But in the United States, everyone says it—we’re all “United in Joy.”
  36. It’s very hard to live with cognitive dissonance: only a real cynic can believe one thing and say another. So whether it’s a totalitarian system or a free system, the people who are most useful to the system of power are the ones who actually believe what they say, and they’re the ones who will typically make it through. So take Tom Wicker at the New York Times: when you talk to him about this kind of stuff, he gets very irate and says, “Nobody tells me what to write.” And that’s perfectly true, nobody tells him what to write—but if he didn’t already know what to write, he wouldn’t be a columnist for the New York Times.
  37. In fact, in this respect I think Nixon was treated extremely unfairly. I mean, there were real crimes of the Nixon administration, and he should have been tried—but not for any of the Watergate business. Take the bombing of Cambodia, for instance: the bombing of Cambodia was infinitely worse than anything that came up in the Watergate hearings—this thing they call the “secret bombing” of Cambodia, which was “secret” because the press didn’t talk about what they knew. The U.S. killed maybe a couple hundred thousand people in Cambodia, they devastated a peasant society. The bombing of Cambodia did not even appear in Nixon’s Articles of Impeachment. It was raised in the Senate hearings, but only in one interesting respect—the question that was raised was, why hadn’t Nixon informed Congress? It wasn’t, why did you carry out one of the most intense bombings in history in densely populated areas of a peasant country, killing maybe 150,000 people? That never came up. The only question was, why didn’t you tell Congress? In other words, were people with power granted their prerogatives? And once again, notice that what it means is, infringing on the rights of powerful people is unacceptable: “We’re powerful, so you’ve got to tell us—then we’ll tell you ‘Fine, go bomb Cambodia.’”
  38. Man: There’s also the different mentality between the Arabs and Jews that figures into it too, don’t you think—isn’t that always going to get in the way of peace? They’re the same kind of people, they have the same kind of mentality. They bleed when they’re cut, they mourn when their children are killed. I’m not aware of any difference between them.
  39. [Can Israel gain legitimacy?] Well, yeah—the general answer to your question just has to be yes. If not, we’d have to go back to the days of hunter-gatherer societies, because all of history has been illegitimate.
  40. Hitler in fact used the treatment of the Native Americans as a model, explicitly—he said, that’s what we’re going to do with the Jews.
  41. A few Thanksgivings ago I took a walk with some friends and family in a National Park, and we came across a tombstone which had just been put in along the path. It said: “Here lies an Indian woman, a Wampanoag, who family and tribe gave of themselves and their land that this great nation might be born and grow.” Okay, “gave of themselves and their land”—in fact, were murdered, scattered, dispersed, and we stole their land, that’s what we’re sitting on. You know, there can’t be anything more illegitimate: the whole history of this country is illegitimate. Our forefathers stole about a third of Mexico in a war in which they claimed that Mexico attacked us, but if you look back it turns out that that “attack” took place inside of Mexican territory. And it goes on and on. So you know, what can be legitimate?…In fact, the main reason why the plague of European civilization was able to spread all over the world in the past five hundred years is that the Europeans were just a lot more vicious and savage than anyone else, because they’d had a lot more practice murdering one another—so when they came to other places, they knew how to do it, and were very good at it. Well, the European state system has continued to be an extremely bloody and brutal arrangement, right to today. I mean, there are wars all over the Third World just because the national boundaries the European invaders imposed on these places have nothing to do with anything except where one European power could expand at the expense of another European power.
  42. Israel’s a country like every other country, and we should recognize that and stop the nonsense. To talk about legitimacy is ridiculous—the word doesn’t apply, to their history or anyone else’s.
  43. Man: Mr. Chomsky, I’m wondering what specific qualifications you have to be able to speak all around the country about world affairs? None whatsoever. I mean, the qualifications I have to speak on world affairs are exactly the same ones Henry Kissinger has, and Walt Rostow has, or anybody in the Political Science Department, professional historians—none, none that you don’t have. The only difference is, I don’t pretend to have qualifications, nor do I pretend that qualifications are needed.
  44. You should decide whether something makes sense by its content, not by the letters after the name of the person who says it. And the idea that you’re supposed to have special qualifications to talk about things that are common sense, that’s just another scam—it’s another way to try to marginalize people, and you shouldn’t fall for it.
  45. Anybody who wants to become your leader, you should say, “I don’t want to follow.” That’s like a rule of thumb which almost never fails.
  46. Yeah, you keep plugging away—that’s the way social change takes place. That’s the way every social change in history has taken place: by a lot of people, who nobody ever heard of, doing work.
  47. I mean, look: if you want to feel hopeless, there are a lot of things you could feel hopeless about. If you want to sort of work out objectively what’s the chance that the human species will survive for another century, probably not very high. But I mean, what’s the point?
  48. If you want to evaluate alternative modes of economic development—whether you like them or not—what you ought to ask is, how did societies that were like the Soviet Union in 1910 compare with it in 1990?…Well, there’s a good reason why nobody undertakes it, and we only make idiotic comparisons—because if you compare Brazil and Russia, or Guatemala and Hungary, you get the wrong answer. Brazil, for maybe 5 or 10 percent of its population, is indeed like Western Europe—and for around 80 percent of its population, it’s kind of like Central Africa. In fact, for probably 80 percent of the Brazilian population, Soviet Russia would have looked like heaven. If a Guatemalan peasant suddenly landed in Bulgaria, he’d probably think he’d gone to paradise or something. So therefore we don’t make these comparisons, we only make crazy comparisons, which anybody who thinks for a second would see are preposterous…But just think for a second: if you want to know how successful the Soviet economic system was, compare Russia in 1990 with someplace that was like it in 1910. Is that such a brilliant insight?
  49. Lars Schoultz, at the University of North Carolina—who’s the major academic specialist on human rights in Latin America and a highly respected mainstream scholar—published a study on U.S. aid to Latin America almost fifteen years ago, in which he identified an extremely close correlation between U.S. aid and torture: as he put it, the more a country tortures its citizens and the more egregious are the violations of human rights, the higher is U.S. aid…The leading human right violator in the Western Hemisphere [in 1990] by a good margin is Colombia, which has just an atrocious record—they have “social cleansing” programs, before every election members of the opposition parties get murdered, labor union leaders are murdered, students, dissidents are murdered, there are death squads all around. Okay, more than half of U.S. aid to the entire hemisphere goes to Colombia.
  50. After all, [Eastern European] countries also called themselves “democratic”—in fact, they called themselves “People’s Democracies,” real advanced forms of democracy. So why don’t we conclude that “democracy” failed, not just that “socialism” failed? Well, I haven’t seen any articles anywhere saying, “Look, democracy failed, let’s forget about democracy.” And it’s obvious why: the fact that they called themselves democratic doesn’t mean that they were Pretty obvious, right?…You can argue about what socialism is, but there are some ideas that are sort of at the core of it, like workers’ control over production, elimination of wage labor, things like that. Did those countries have any of those things? They weren’t even a thought there.
  51. Woman: You mentioned “social cleansing” and people in the Third World selling their body parts for money. I don’t know if you saw the recent Barbara Walters program…The answer is, “No by definition.”
  52. In January 1959, Cuba had a popular nationalist revolution. We now know from declassified U.S. government documents that the formal decision to overthrow Castro was made by the American government in March 1960—that’s very important, because at that point there were no Russians around, and Castro was in fact considered anti-Communist by the U.S. [Castro did not align with the Soviet Union until May 1961, after the U.S. had severed diplomatic relations with Cuba in January and had sponsored an invasion attempt in April]. So the reason for deciding to overthrow the Castro government can’t have had anything to do with Cuba being a Russian outpost in the Cold War—Cuba was just taking an independent path, which has always been unacceptable to powerful interests in the United States.
  53. However, the country certainly was succeeding in terms that are meaningful to other populations in the region—I mean, just compare Cuba with Haiti or the Dominican Republic right next door, or with any other place in Latin America which the United States has controlled: the difference is obvious, and that’s exactly what the United States has always been concerned about.
  54. Another thing nobody here knows is that every year since the U.S. invasion—as the Panamanians themselves call it—Panama commemorates it with a national day of mourning. Nobody here knows that, obviously, because the press doesn’t report it. I mean, the government George Bush installed in Panama itself described the country as “a country under military occupation.” There’s a group of eight Latin American democracies called the “Group of Eight,” and Panama was expelled from it in March 1990, because, as they pointed out, a country under military occupation cannot possibly be considered “democratic.” Well, none of this has appeared in the American press either.
  55. See, the Catholic Church because the main target of the U.S. attacks in Central America because there was a radical and very conscious change in critically important sectors of the Church (including dominant elements among the Latin American bishops) who recognized that for hundreds of years it had been a Church of the rich and the oppressors, which was telling the poor, “This is your fate, accept it.” And so they decided to finally become a Church in part devoted to the liberation of the poor—and they immediately fell under attack. So you’re right, it is true that the U.S. is attacking a substantial part of the world that happens to be Muslim, but we’re not attacking it because they’re Muslim—we don’t care if they’re Martians. The question is, are they obedient?
  56. For instance, there’s a lot of talk in the U.S. about “Islamic fundamentalism,” as if that’s some bad thing we’re trying to fight. But the most extreme Islamic fundamentalist state in the world is Saudi Arabia: are we going after the leaders of Saudi Arabia? No, they’re great guys—they torture and murder and kill and all that stuff, but they also send the oil profits from their country to the West and not to the people of the region, so they’re just fine. Or take non-state agents: I suppose the most extreme fanatic Islamic fundamentalist group in the world [in 1990] is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in Afghanistan, who got over a billion dollars of aid from the United States and Saudi Arabia and is now tearing what’s left of Afghanistan to pieces. Yeah, he’s a good guy, he’s been fighting on our side—narco-trafficker, terrorist, all those things, but doing what we wanted. On the other hand, if Islamic fundamentalists are organizing clinics in the slums of Cairo, they’re going to have to go, just as the liberation theologians in Latin America who happened to be Basques—you know, blue eyes, blond hair and so on—had to go. I mean, there is a racist element to U.S. policy, of course, but the basic motivation is not that, I think. The real goal is just maintaining obedience—as in Cuba, as in Panama, and so on.
  57. In fact, the first National Security Council Memorandum, N.S.C. 1, is about Italy and the Italian elections. And what it says is that if the Communists come to power in the election through legitimate democratic means, the United States must declare a national emergency: the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean should be put on alert, the United States should start subversive activities in Italy to overthrow the Italian government, and we should begin contingency planning for direct military intervention—that’s if the resistance wins a legitimate democratic election.
  58. Well, states are not moral agents; they are vehicles of power, which operate in the interest of the particular internal power structures of their societies.
  59. You really didn’t need an intervention [in 1992 Somalia] at that time: the best thing would have been just to continue giving support to [U.N. negotiator] Sahnoun and others like him, who were trying to bring together the various parts of Somalian civil society, I mean, that’s the way you’ve got to do it, or else there isn’t really going to be any lasting progress—you have to help the civil society reconstruct itself, because they’re the only ones who can ultimately solve their own problems. And Sahnoun and others were doing that, so it would have been very efficient just to help them continue doing it. But of course, that was never a thought here: you don’t get any P.R. for the Pentagon that way. So you can ask whether in the end the Somalis benefited or were harmed by what we did, and I’m not certain what the answer is. But whatever happened, they were secondary: they were just props for photo opportunities. Maybe they were helped by it—I hope so—but if so it was purely incidental.
  60. I mean, [pre-Gulf War Iraq] was a defenseless Third World country that was so weak it had been unable to defeat post-revolutionary Iran in eight years of warfare [from 1980 to ‘88]—and that was with the support of the United States, the Soviet Union, all of Europe, the Arab oil countries: not an inconsiderable segment of world power. Yet with all those allies, Iraq had been unable to defeat post-revolutionary Iran, which had killed off its own officers’ corps and barely had an army left: all of a sudden this was the superpower that was going to conquer the world?
  61. And [the Gulf War] is all being done by the United States for its own reasons. It has nothing to do with disliking Saddam Hussein—as you can see from the fact that he was George Bush’s great friend and trading partner right up until the moment of the Kuwait invasion. Or as you can see from the fact that the Bush White House intervened repeatedly well into 1990 to prevent the Treasury Department and others who thought Iraq wasn’t creditworthy from cutting back on U.S. loan guarantees to their dear friend Saddam Hussein. Or as you can see from the fact that we supported him again immediately after the war ended, as he was decimating internal resistance to his rule with “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf [the U.S. general] sitting nearby and refusing even to lift a finger.
  62. A good place to start if you want to know what something was about is to look to see what changes it introduced.
  63. The last of the annual U.N. votes on the Palestinians was held in December 1990, and the result was the same as always: 144 to 2, the U.S. and Israel rejecting any sort of recognition of Palestinian national rights. Then came the U.S. bombardment of Iraq in January 1991. After the war, the U.S. set up the Madrid Conference and the U.N. didn’t hold any more votes on the Palestinian question after that. The Madrid Conference was run completely by the U.S.—it was based totally on American programs, there was nothing for the Palestinians at all. The agenda was, Israel takes what it wants from the Occupied Territories; the relationships between Israel and the U.S.-client oil monarchies in the region, like Saudi Arabia and Oman and Qatar and so on (which have always existed, even though they were officially at war), now kind of rise above the surface and become more overt—and the Palestinians get it in the neck, they’re offered nothing. And that was the big effect of the Gulf War: it sort of intimidated everyone, it was a big show of American power that demonstrated that the U.S. will use force to get its way wherever it feels like it, now that the Soviet Union is out of the game…As George Bush in fact put it: “What we say goes.”
  64. And there are plenty of other issues like [Bosnia] too. Take Rwanda [where more than half a million people were killed in a civil war in 1994]—you can see plenty of things people shouldn’t have done, but once the massacres get started, I don’t know of a lot that anybody could do about them. They were horrendous, certainly, but what exactly could you do?
  65. [A woman in the Israeli press] said: people in Israel are comparing [the Oslo Agreement] with the end of apartheid in South Africa, but the true comparison is with the onset of apartheid—with the enactment of the 1950s laws in South Africa which set up the Bantustans [partially self-governing black districts]. And that’s right, that’s more or less what the Oslo Agreement is: it’s enslavement, it’s a plan for enslavement, with about as much independence for the Territories—less maybe—as the Bantustans had. So that means that the whole struggle against apartheid is just beginning right now, not ending.
  66. Large-scale social change in the past and major social revolutions in the past, so far as I know, have come about just because lots of people, working wherever they are, have worked hard, and have looked around to find other people who are working hard, and have tried to work together with them when they find them. I think every social change in history, from the democratic revolutions to things like the Civil Rights Movement, has worked that way…It’s very important for institutions of concentrated power to keep people alone and isolated: that way they’re ineffective, they can’t defend themselves against indoctrination, they can’t even figure out what they think.
  67. The reason is, people [with access to co-op radio or other alternative media] are constantly challenged with a different point of view, and they can participate in the debates, they’re not just passive spectators. That’s the way you learn, that’s the way you discover who you are, and what you really want, it’s how you figure out your own values and gain understanding. You have to be able to knock ideas off other people and hear them get beaten down in order to find out what you actually think.
  68. Don’t forget, the people with power in the society are watching [popular social movements] too, and they have institutions. They can learn, they can see what didn’t work the last time and do it better the next time—and they have plenty of resources to try out different strategies. On our side what happens is, people forget. I mean, it does take skills to organize, it’s not that simple. You want to organize a demonstration or a letter-writing campaign or do fundraising, it does take skills—and those skills tend to get lost. You can see it happening over and over. The people who do it the first time around work hard and learn how to do things, then get burnt out and drift off to something else. Then another issue comes up, and others with a roughly similar understanding, but maybe a little younger or less experienced, have to start over again and learn all the skills from the beginning. How do you organize a meeting? How do you get leaflets out? Is it worth approaching the press? In what way do you approach them? Well, since we don’t have stable popular institutions, all these things that you kind of get in your bones after a while if you do a lot of organizing do not become part of the common lore that the movements could call on and improve on, if we only had more integration and more continuity. But for people with power, there is a common lore, and they do improve upon it…If you go back to the beginnings of the modern version of democracy, it’s the same conflict: people are trying to figure out ways to control their own lives, and people with power are trying to stop them. Now, until we dissolve the centers of private power and really get popular control over how the most crucial decisions in the society get made—like the decisions about what’s produced and what’s invested and so on—this battle is always going to go on.
  69. Of course [institutions of power] should tell us [“you’ve never achieved anything”]—and they should even tell us, “You don’t want to achieve anything, all you want to do is consume more.” As long as power’s concentrated, that’s what it’s going to tell us—“There’s no point in working to help other people, you don’t care about them, you’re just out for yourself.” Sure it’s going to tell us that, because that’s what’s in its interests. There’s no point in telling ourselves, “They’re lying to us” over and over again. Of course they are; it’s like saying the sun’s setting or something like that. Obviously they are.
  70. I mean, if you sign a petition it’s kind of nice—but that’s the end of it, you just go back home and do whatever you were doing: there’s no continuity, there’s no real engagement, it’s not sustained activity that builds up a community of activism. Well, an awful lot of the political work I see in the United States is of that type…The nuclear freeze movement amounted to a public opinion poll, basically: they found out that three times as many people want the government to spend the money on Medicare and things like that as want it spent on nuclear weapons. So what? What are they going to do about it? Nothing. So all these nuclear freeze people did was answer a poll question—that’s not organizing…If we see a big organizing effort where everybody signs the petitions and some people try to introduce the issue into the ’84 Democratic Party platform, and it has absolutely no effect, and a year later Mikhail Gorbachev [Soviet leader] declares a unilateral nuclear test freeze and still there’s no effect—well, we should be learning something. Then we should be carrying on to the next step. But that wasn’t the reaction of the nuclear freeze organizers. The reaction among the organizers wasn’t, “Well, we obviously misunderstood the way things work”—it was, “We did the right thing, but we partially failed: we convinced the population, but we didn’t manage to convince the elites.” You know, “We’ll go talk to the strategic analysts, who are confused—they don’t understand what we understand—and we’ll explain to them why a nuclear freeze would be a good thing.”
  71. If you’re getting accepted in elite circles, chances are very strong that you’re doing something wrong—I mean, for very simple reasons. Why should they have any respect for people who are trying to undermine their power? It doesn’t make any sense.
  72. Look, part of the whole technique of disempowering people is to make sure that the real agents of change fall out of history, and are never recognized in the culture for what they are. So it’s necessary to distort history and make it look as if Great Men did everything—that’s part of how you teach people they can’t do anything, they’re helpless, they just have to wait for some Great Man to come along and do it for them.
  73. There’s a part of the Pentagon Papers [the leaked official Defense Department planning record of U.S. involvement in Vietnam] which is considered politically incorrect—it doesn’t appear in big histories and nobody discusses it, because it’s just too revealing. It’s the part that deals with the time right after the Tet Offensive. Right after the Tet Offensive in 1968, everyone recognized that the Vietnam War was going to take a long time, it wasn’t going to be possible to win it quickly—so major decisions had to be made about strategy and policy. Well, the Joint Chiefs of Staff were asked by General Westmoreland, the top American commander in Vietnam, to send 200,000 more troops over to the war—and they refused, they didn’t want to do it. And the reason is, they said they were afraid they might have to use the troops here in the United States to put down a civil war: they said they were going to need the troops at home for “civil disorder control,” as they put it, and therefore they didn’t want to send them to Vietnam.
  74. But all of these systems have been very anti-democratic—like, in the Soviet Union, there were virtually no peasants or workers involved in any decision-making process. Man: It would be hard to find a working model of an ideal. Yes, but in the eighteenth century it would have been hard to find a working model of a political democracy—that didn’t prove it couldn’t exist. By the nineteenth century, it did exist. Unless you think that human history is over, it’s not an argument to say “it’s not around.” You go back two hundred years, it was hard to imagine slavery being abolished.
  75. You can’t really figure out what problems are going to arise in group situations unless you experiment with them—it’s like physics: you can’t just sit around and think what the world would be like under such and such conditions, you’ve got to experiment and learn how things actually work out.
  76. Every form of authority and domination and hierarchy, every authoritarian structure, has to prove that it’s justified—it has no prior justification. For instance, when you stop your five-year-old kid from trying to cross the street, that’s an authoritarian situation: it’s got to be justified. Well, in that case, I think you can give a justification. But the burden of proof for any exercise of authority is always on the person exercising it—invariably. And when you look, most of the time these authority structures have no justification: they have no moral justification, that have no justification in the interests of the person lower in the hierarchy, or in the interests of other people, or the environment, or the future, or the society, or anything else—they’re just there in order to preserve certain structures of power and domination, and the people at the top…The person who claims the legitimacy of the authority always bears the burden of justifying it. And if they can’t justify it, it’s illegitimate and should be dismantled. To tell you the truth, I don’t really understand anarchism as being much more than that. As far as I can see, it’s just the point of view that says that people have the right to be free, and if there are constraints on that freedom then you’ve got to justify them.
  77. People have to be driven to have certain wants in our system—why? Why not leave them alone so they can just be happy, do other things?
  78. We’re built to want to do new things, even if they’re not efficient, even if they’re harmful, even if you get hurt—and I don’t think that ever stops.
  79. Sitcoms on television, sports that you watch, every aspect of the culture implicitly involves an expression of what a “proper” life and a “proper” set of values are, and that’s all indoctrination.
  80. [In 1831 Jamaica] there was very conscious discussion [by the British] of the need to create wants—and in fact, extensive efforts were then undertaken to do exactly what they do on T.V. today: to create wants, to make you want the latest pair of sneakers you don’t really need, so then people will be driven into a wage-labor society. And that pattern has been repeated over and over again through the whole entire history of capitalism. In fact, what the whole history of capitalism shows is that people have had to be driven into situations which are then claimed to be their nature. But if the history of capitalism shows anything, it shows it’s not their nature, that they’ve had to be forced into it, and that that effort has had to be maintained right until this day.
  81. We have to develop stable popular organizations, and a culture of concern, and commitment, and activism, and solidarity, which can help to sustain us in these struggles, and which can help break down some of the barriers that have been set up to divide and distract us.
  82. I mean, if somebody wants to say that humans are born to be slaves, they can give as much of a scientific argument as Rousseau could when he said they’re born to be free—it’s like where your hopes are, it’s not that there’s any scientific knowledge.
  83. Alexis de Tocqueville [French politician and writer] pointed out that you can have systems in which “the art advances and the artisan recedes,” but that’s inhuman—because what you’re really interested in is the artisan, you’re interested in people, and for people to have the opportunity to live full and rewarding lives they have to be in control of what they do, even if that happens to be economically less efficient.
  84. If an economist from, say, Harvard, goes to some Eastern European country today and tells them, “Here’s the way to develop,” that’s worse than hitting a computer with a crowbar: there are a million different social and cultural and economic factors they don’t understand, and any big change that’s pressed on people is very likely to be disastrous, no matter what it is—and, of course, it always is Incidentally, it’s disastrous for the victims—it’s usually very good for the people who are carrying out the experiments, which is why these experiments have been carried out for the last couple hundred years, since the British started them in India. I mean, every one of them is a disaster for the victims and they’re invariably good for the guys carrying out the experiments. Well, as far as people who are interested in social reform are concerned, what that suggests is, people better do it themselves, and a step at a time, under their own control.
  85. Well, I guess one thing that’s unattractive to me about “Marxism” is the very idea that there is such a thing. It’s a rather striking fact that you don’t find things like “Marxism” in the sciences—like, there isn’t any part of physics which is “Einsteinism,” let’s say, or “Planckianism” or something like that. It doesn’t make any sense—because people aren’t gods: they just discover things, and they make mistakes, and their graduate students tell them why they’re wrong, and then they go on and do things better the next time. But there are no gods around. I mean, scientists do use the terms “Newtonianism” and “Darwinism,” but nobody thinks of those as doctrines that you’ve got to somehow be loyal to, and figure out what the Master thought, and what he would have said in this new circumstance and so on. That sort of thing is just completely alien to rational existence, it only shows up in irrational domains.
  86. Whenever I hear a four-syllable word I get skeptical, because I want to make sure you can’t say it in monosyllables. Don’t forget, part of the whole intellectual vocation is creating a niche for yourself, and if everybody can understand what you’re talking about, you’ve sort of lost, because then what makes you special? What makes you special has got to be something that you had to work really hard to understand, and you mastered it, and all those guys out there don’t understand it, and then that becomes the basis for your privilege and your power. So take what’s called “literary theory”—I mean, I don’t think there’s any such thing as literary “theory,” any more than there’s cultural “theory” or historical “theory.” If you’re just reading books and talking about them and getting people to understand them, okay, you can be terrific at that, like Edmund Wilson was terrific at it—but he didn’t have a literary theory. On the other hand, if you want to mingle in the same room with that physicist over there who’s talking about quarks, you’d better have a complicated theory too that nobody can understand: he has a complicated theory that nobody can understand, why shouldn’t I have a complicated theory that nobody can understand? If someone came along with a theory of history, it would be the same: either it would be truisms, or maybe some smart ideas, like somebody could say, “Why not look at economic factors lying behind the Constitution?” or something like that—but there’d be nothing there that couldn’t be said in monosyllables…Like, if you want to try to understand how the modern industrial economy developed, let’s say, that can take a lot of work. But the “theory” will be extremely thin, if by “theory” we mean something with principles which are not obvious when you first look at them, and from which you can deduce surprising consequences and try to confirm the principles—you’re not going to find anything like that in the social world.
  87. I think people should be extremely skeptical when intellectual life constructs structures which aren’t transparent—because the fact of the matter is that in most areas of life, we just don’t understand anything very much. There are some areas, like say, quantum physics, where they’re not faking. But most of the time it’s just fakery, I think: anything that’s at all understood can probably be described pretty simply. And when words like “dialectics” come along, or “hermeneutics,” and all this kind of stuff that’s supposed to be very profound, like Goering, “I reach for my revolver.”
  88. And also, remember, after the great scientific revolutions that led to the Enlightenment, it got to the point where you couldn’t do science anymore if you were subjected to the kinds of doctrinal controls that remain quite effective in other fields. I mean, if you’re a physicist after Newton trying to spin off ideological fanaticism, you’re just out of the game—progress has been too much. That’s very different from the social sciences and the humanities—you can tell falsehoods forever in those fields and nothing will ever stop you, like you don’t have Mother Nature around keeping you honest.
  89. Universities do not generate nearly enough funds to support themselves from tuition money alone: they’re parasitic institutions that need to be supported from the outside, and that means they’re dependent on wealthy alumni, on corporations, and on the government, which are groups with the same basic interests. Well, as long as the universities serve those interests, they’ll be funded. If they ever stop serving those interests, they’ll start to get in trouble.
  90. I’m sure that every one of you has taken any number of courses in school in which you worked, and you did your homework, you passed the exam, maybe you even got an “A”—and a week later you couldn’t even remember what the course was about. You only learn things and learn how to think if there’s some purpose for learning, some motivation that’s coming out of you In fact, all of the methodology in education isn’t really much more than that—getting students to want to learn. Once they want to learn, they’ll do it.
  91. Like, I wouldn’t say that no meaningful work takes place in the schools, or that they only exist to provide manpower for the corporate system or something like that—these are very complex systems, after all. But the basic institutional role and function of the schools, and why they’re supported, is to provide an ideological service: there’s a real selection for obedience and conformity.
  92. And [my friend from Latvia] once told me that the first thing that struck him about American schools was the fact that if he got a “C” in a course, nobody cared, but if he came to school three minutes late he was sent to the principal’s office—and that generalized. He realized that what it meant is, what’s valued here is the ability to work on an assembly line, even if it’s an intellectual assembly line. The important thing is to be able to obey orders, and to do what you’re told, and to be where you’re supposed to be. The values are, you’re going to be a factory worker somewhere—maybe they’ll call it a university—but you’re going to be following somebody else’s orders, and just doing your work in some prescribed way. And what matters is discipline, not figuring things out for yourself, or understanding things that interest you—those are kind of marginal: just make sure you meet the requirements of a factory.
  93. Most of the people who make it through the education system and get into the elite universities are able to do it because they’ve been willing to obey a lot of stupid orders for years and years—that’s the way I did it, for example. Like, you’re told by some stupid teacher, “Do this,” which you know makes no sense whatsoever, but you do it, and if you do it you get to the next rung, and then you obey the next order, and finally you work your way through and they give you your letters…Some people go along with it because they figure, “Okay, I’ll do any stupid thing that asshole says because I want to get ahead”; others do it because they’ve just internalized the values—but after a while, those two things tend to get sort of blurred. But you do it, or else you’re out: you ask too many questions and you’re going to get in trouble. Now, there are also people who don’t go along—and they’re called “behavior problems,” or “unmotivated,” or things like that. Well, you don’t want to be too glib about it—there are children with behavior problems—but a lot of them are just independent-minded, or don’t like to conform, or just want to go their own way. And they get into trouble right from the very beginning, and are typically weeded out.
  94. It’s extremely easy to be sucked into the dominant culture, it can be very appealing. There are a lot of rewards. And what’s more, the people you meet don’t look like bad people—you don’t want to sit there and insult them. Maybe they’re perfectly nice people. So you try to be friends, maybe you even are friends. Well, you begin to conform, you begin to adapt, you begin to smooth off the harsher edges—and pretty soon it’s just happened, it kind of seeps in.
  95. Remember, talk about “free trade” is fine in editorials, but nobody actually practices it in reality: in every modern economy, the taxpayers are made to subsidize the private corporations, who then keep the profits for themselves.
  96. The Pentagon also purchases the output of high-technology industry, it serves as a state-guaranteed market for waste production—that’s what contracts for developing weapons systems are; I mean, you don’t actually use the weapons you’re paying for, you just destroy them in a couple years and replace them with the next array of even more advanced stuff you don’t need.
  97. Well, why was Japan so competitive with the U.S. economically, despite highly inauspicious conditions? There are a lot of reasons. But the main reason is that they directed their public subsidy straight to the commercial market. So to work on lasers, they tried to figure out ways of producing lasers for the commercial market, and they do it pretty well. But when we want to develop lasers for the commercial market, what we do is pour the money into the Pentagon, which then tries to work out a way to use a laser to shoot down a missile ten thousand miles away—and if they can work that out, then they hope there’ll be some commercial spin-offs that come out of it all. Okay, that’s less efficient. And since the Japanese are no dumber than we are, and they have an efficient system of state-coordination while we have an inefficient one, over the years they succeeded in the economic competition.
  98. That’s ultimately why public education was instituted in the United States in the first place: to meet the needs of newly-emerging industry. See, part of the process of trying to develop a degraded and obedient labor force was to make the workers stupid and passive—and mass education was one of the ways that was achieved.
  99. It took a long time to beat it out of workers’ heads and turn them into passive tools; it took a long time to make people accept that this type of exploitation is the only alternative, so they’d better just forget about their rights and say, “Okay, I’m degraded.”
  100. Well, by now the assumptions underpinning these [economic] theories are not only false—they’re the opposite of the truth. By now labor is immobile, through immigration restrictions and so on, and capital is highly mobile, primarily because of technological changes. So none of the results work anymore. But you’re still taught them, you’re still taught the theories exactly as before—even though the reality today is the exact opposite of what was assumed in the early nineteenth century. I mean, if you look at some of the fancier economists, Paul Krugman and so on, they’ve got all kinds of little tricks here and there to make the results not quite so grotesquely ridiculous as they’d otherwise be. But fundamentally, it all just is pretty ridiculous. I mean, if capital is mobile and labor is immobile, there’s no reason why mobile capital shouldn’t seek absolute advantage and play one national workforce against another, go wherever the labor is cheapest and thereby drive everybody’s standard of living down.
  101. There is not a single case on record in history of any country that has developed successfully through adherence to “free market” principles: none. Certainly not the United States.
  102. Look, the reason why the industrial revolution took off in places like Lowell and Lawrence is because of high protectionist tariffs the U.S. government set up to keep out British goods. And the same thing runs right up to today: like, we would not have successful high-tech industry in the United States today if it wasn’t for a huge public subsidy to advanced industry, mostly through the Pentagon system and N.A.S.A. and so on—that doesn’t have the vaguest relation to a “free market.”…If market forces had been allowed to function, the United States would no longer have an automobile industry, or a microchip industry, or computers, or electronics, because they would have just been wiped out by the Japanese. So therefore the Reaganites closed off American markets and poured in huge amounts of public funds.
  103. Of course, the “free market” ideology is very useful—it’s a weapon against the general population here, because it’s an argument against social spending, and it’s a weapon against poor people abroad, because we can hold it up to them and say “You guys have to follow these rules,” then just go ahead and rob them. But nobody really pays any attention to this stuff when it comes to actual planning—and no one ever has. So there was just a British study of the hundred leading transnational corporations in the “Fortune 500,” and it found that of the hundred, every single one of them had benefited from what’s called “state industrial policy”—that is, from some form of government intervention in the country in which they’re based. And of the hundred, they said at least twenty had been saved from total collapse by state intervention at one point or another.
  104. Actually, the most dramatic example of these “market distortions” that I can think of—which I suspect is never even taught in economics courses—concerns the reason why the United States had an industrial revolution in the first place. Remember, the industrial revolution was fueled by textiles, meaning one commodity: cotton. And cotton was cheap, that was crucially important. Well, why was cotton cheap? Was it because of market forces? No. Cotton was cheap because they exterminated the native population here and brought in slaves—that’s why cotton was cheap. Genocide and slavery: try to imagine a more severe market distortion than that.
  105. In fact, India generally was a real competitor with England: as late as the 1820s, the British were learning advanced techniques of steel-making there, India was building ships for the British navy at the time of the Napoleonic Wars [1803-1815], they had a developed textiles industry, they were producing more iron than all of Europe combined—so the British just proceeded to de-industrialize the country by force and turn it into an impoverished rural society. Was that competition in the “free market”?
  106. Automation could have been designed in such a way as to use the skills of skilled machinists and to eliminate management—there’s nothing inherent in automation that says it can’t be used that way. But it wasn’t, believe me; it was used in exactly the opposite way. Automation was designed through the state system to demean and degrade people—to de-skill workers and increase managerial control. And again, that had nothing to do with the market, and it had nothing to do with the nature of the technology: it had to do with straight power interests…Study after study, including by management firms like Arthur D. Little and so on, show that managers have selected automation even when it cuts back on profits—just because it gives them more control over their workforce.
  107. The Luddites are always accused of having wanted to destroy machinery, but it’s been known in scholarship for a long time that that’s not true—what they really wanted to do was to prevent themselves from being de-skilled, and [economist David Noble] talks about this in his book. The Luddites had nothing against machinery itself, they just didn’t want it to destroy them, they wanted it to be developed in such a way that it would enhance their skills and their power, and not degrade and destroy them—which of course makes perfect sense.
  108. If you take almost any area you can think of in life, whether it’s race, or sex, or military intervention, the environment—these are all things that didn’t even exist in the 1950s, people didn’t even think they were issues, you just submitted.
  109. So George Bush can get up and say, “The Vietnamese should understand that we bear them no permanent grudge, we’re not going to make them pay for everything they did to us; if they finally come clean, you know, devote their entire lives and every last resource they have to searching for the remains of one of those people they viciously blew out of the sky, then maybe we’ll allow them entry into the civilized world”—and there won’t be a single editorial writer or columnist who either falls on the floor laughing, or else says, “This guy is worse than the Nazis.”
  110. In the case of confrontations with “much weaker enemies”—meaning anybody we’re willing to fight—we must not only defeat them, but we must defeat them “decisively and rapidly,” because anything else will “undercut political support,” which is understood to be extremely thin.
  111. Again, people just have to remember: there is nothing in the mainstream culture that is ever going to tell you you’ve succeeded—they’re always going to tell you you’ve failed. I mean, the official view of the Sixties is that it was a bunch of crazies running around burning down the universities and making noise, because they were hysterics, or because they were afraid to go to Vietnam or something—that’s the official story, and that’s what people always hear from the intellectual culture. They may know from their own lives and experiences that that’s not what really happened, but they never hear anybody saying it: that’s not the message they system is always pouring into you through television, and radio, and newspapers, and books, and histories, and so on and so forth. It’s beating into your head another story—that you failed, and that you should have failed, because you were just a bunch of crazies.
  112. A large part of human history is just that: a struggle to extend the domains of popular power and to break down centers of concentrated power.
  113. So while from the point of view of Jeffersonian libertarians in the eighteenth century, there was no deviation from democracy and freedom if rights were limited to white male property owners, nobody except some Neanderthal would accept that view today. Well, that’s progress, that’s cultural and social progress. And that progress was achieved through struggle: it didn’t happen because somebody sat around and talked about it, it happened through the struggles of the Abolitionists, and the women’s movement, and the labor movement, and others.
  114. It wasn’t until 1964 that the Supreme Court struck down the 1798 Sedition Act.
  115. [Regarding the question of limits to freedom of speech], ultimately the question is, who gets to make that decision and enforce it? And there is only one independent structure that can do that, that’s the state, that’s state power, government power, the police, you know, the cops, F.B.I. They can make that decision, nobody else can. So the question is, do you want them to be in a position to decide what speech is acceptable?
  116. But of course, none of these [new media technologies] have to be used [for extending passivity and manipulation]—again, it just depends who ends up controlling them. I mean, if the general public ever ended up controlling them, they could be used quite differently. For example, these information-processing systems could be used as methods by which working people could come to control their own workplaces without the need for managers and bosses—so every person in the workplace could have all the information they need in order to make all the decisions themselves, in real time, when it counts. Well, in that kind of circumstance, the same technology would be a highly democratizing device—in fact, it would help eliminate the core of the whole system of authority and domination.
  117. On the other hand, [the Internet] has a number of other advantages for power. For one thing, it diverts people, it atomizes people. When you’re sitting in front of your tube, you’re alone. I mean, there’s something about human beings that just makes face-to-face contact very different from hanging around on a computer terminal and getting some noise coming back—that’s very impersonal, and it breaks down human relations. Well, that’s obviously a good result from the point of view of people with power—because it’s extremely important to drive human sentiments out of people if you just want them to be passive and obedient and under control. So if you can eliminate things like face-to-face contact and direct interaction, and just turn people into what’s caricatured as kind of an M.I.T. nerd—you know, somebody who’s got antennae coming out of his head, and is wired into his computer all the time—that’s a real advantage, because then you’ve made them more inhuman, and therefore more controllable.
  118. [The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment] pointed out that in fact N.A.F.T.A. was designed to be an investor rights agreement, not a “free trade” agreement—and that it was going to drive the economies of each of the three participating countries [the U.S., Canada and Mexico] down towards a kind of low-wage, low-growth equilibrium; they didn’t say it of course, but it’ll also be a high-profit
  119. Actually, if you looked closely, even N.A.F.T.A.’s advocates conceded that it was probably going to harm the majority of the populations of the three countries. For instance, its advocates in the United States were saying, “It’s really good, it’ll only harm semi-skilled workers”—footnote: 70 percent of the workforce. As a matter of fact, after N.A.F.T.A. was safely passed, the New York Times did their first analysis of its predicted effects in the New York region: it was a very upbeat article talking about how terrific it was going to be for corporate lawyers and P.R. firms and so on. And then there was a footnote there as well. It said, well, everyone can’t gain, there’ll also be some losers: “women, blacks, Hispanics, and semi-skilled labor”—in other words, most of the people of New York. But you can’t have everything. And those were the advocates.
  120. As a matter of fact, it’s not even clear that these so-called “free trade” agreements are going to increase trade at all, in any authentic sense…If you take a look at that international trade, you’ll find that it’s a very curious kind of growth: about 50 percent of U.S. trade now is internal to corporations, which means it’s about as much “trade” as if you move something from one shelf of a grocery store to another; it just happens to cross an international border, so therefore it gets recorded as “trade.”…So in fact, N.A.F.T.A. and G.A.T.T. might really end up reducing trade—they’ll probably increase things moving across borders, but that’s not the same as trade: those transfers are not market interactions.
  121. That’s pretty much the way it goes in the sciences: you can work on what you understand, you can’t work on what people tell you to solve. It’s like the joke about the drunk and the streetlight: you see some drunk guy looking for something under the streetlight and you go over to him and ask, “What’s the matter?” He says, “I lost my key.” You say, “Where did you lost it?” He says, “On the other side of the street.” You say, “So why are you looking over here?” “Well, this is where the light is.” That’s the way the sciences work: you look where the light is—because that’s all you can do…If somebody says, “I’d like to have you solve this problem out here,” you say, “I’ll gladly take your money”—and then you go on looking where you are.
  122. It was a very easy thing in the 1980s for people in the United States to denounce the atrocities of the Soviet Union in its occupation of Afghanistan—but those denunciations had no effects which could have helped people. In terms of their ethical value, they were about the same as denouncing Napoleon’s atrocities, or things that happened in the Middle Ages. Useful and significant actions are ones which have consequences for human beings, and usually those will concern things that you can influence and control—which means for people in the United States, American actions primarily, not those of some other state.
  123. You are responsible for the predictable consequences of your actions, you’re not responsible for the predictable consequences of somebody else’s actions.
  124. Honest people are just going to have to face the fact that whenever possible, people with power are going to exploit any actions which serve their violent ends. So when American dissidents criticize the atrocities of some enemy state like Cuba or Vietnam or something, it’s no secret what the effects of that criticism are going to be: it’s not going to have any effect whatsoever on the Cuban regime, for example, but it certainly will help the torturers in Washington and Miami to keep inflicting their campaign of suffering on the Cuban population [i.e. through the U.S.-led embargo]…I mean, if a Russian intellectual had started publishing articles denouncing very real atrocities committed by the Afghan resistance forces at the time of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, knowing that his accurate criticism would have helped enable the Kremlin to mobilize popular support for further atrocities by the Red Army, I do not think that would have been a morally responsible thing for that person to do. Of course, this often creates difficult dilemmas. But again, honest people have to recognize that they are responsible for the predictable consequences of their acts. So perfectly accurate criticism of the regime in Cuba, say, will predictably be used by ideologists and politicians in the United States to help extend our absolutely barbaric stranglehold on Cuba. Your criticism could be perfectly correct—though obviously much of what we do hear today is in fact false. But even so, an honest person will always ask, “What are the likely consequences of this going to be for other people?” And the consequences in that case at least are clear. Well, making decisions in these circumstances can often be difficult—but these are just dilemmas that human beings have to face in life, and all you can do is try to deal with them the best way you can.
  125. The only objection to prison labor in China that you heard was that the products of that prison labor were being exported to the United States—hence that’s state industry, and the U.S. never wants state industry to compete with privately owned U.S.-based firms. But if China wanted to have prison labor and export it somewhere else, that was fine. In fact, right at the time that the U.S. government and the media were making a fuss about Chinese prison labor, the United States was exporting products of prison labor to Asia: California and Oregon were producing textiles in prisons which were being exported to Asia under the name “Prison Blues”—didn’t even try to hide it…So there’s no objection to prison labor in principle, just don’t interfere with the profits of American-based corporations—that was the real meaning of that debate, when you got to the core of it.
  126. In fact, media coverage to this day has always completely wiped out the U.S. record: the strongest criticism you’ll ever find is, “We didn’t pay enough attention to Timor,” or “The U.S. didn’t try hard enough to get Indonesia to stop its atrocities” or something like that. It’s kind of like saying the Soviet Union didn’t try hard enough to bring freedom to Eastern Europe, or they didn’t pay enough attention to it—that was their problem.
  127. If you read the memoirs of our U.N. ambassador at the time of the invasion [of East Timor], Daniel Patrick Moynihan—who’s greatly praised for his defense of international law, incidentally—he says: “The Department of State desired that the U.N. prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.”…In the first couple of months it seemed “some 60,000 persons had been killed…almost the proportion of casualties experienced by the Soviet Union during the Second World War.” Alright, that’s the Nazis, and that’s Moynihan, the great advocate of international law.
  128. One of the main reasons why the Western powers supported the invasion was that there’s a huge offshore oil field in Timor’s territorial waters, and before 1975 the Australians and the Western oil companies had been trying unsuccessfully to make a deal with Portugal to exploit it. Well, they hadn’t had any luck with Portugal, and they figured an independent East Timor would be even harder to deal with—but they knew that Indonesia would be easy: that’s one of our boys, we’ve been running it ever since the huge massacre there in 1965 that the West applauded, when they wiped out the Communist Party and killed maybe 600,000 people.
  129. In fact, if there were ever any serious pressure from the West, the occupation of East Timor would be over tomorrow. This point was just illustrated very clearly, actually. Look, the United States, Canada, England, France, Holland, Sweden, Germany, Japan, any country that can make a buck off it, are all involved in this—so it’s really not a question of us laying economic sanctions on Indonesia to pressure “them,” the only real question is, can we stop killing Timorese?
  130. Nobody in their right mind would want North Korea to have nuclear weapons. But on the other hand, there’s nothing much that they would do with nuclear weapons if they had them, except maybe defend themselves from attack. They’re certainly not going to invade anybody, that’s not even imaginable: if they ever made a move, the country gets destroyed tomorrow. So the only role that nuclear weapons could play for them is as a deterrent to attack—and that’s not totally unrealistic.
  131. [In the Korean War] we had total command of the air of course, but there was nothing good left to bomb—because everything had already been flattened. So we started going after things like dikes. Okay, that’s just a major war crime.
  132. If some country were—let’s say—to conquer the western part of the United States, and there was resistance against that conquest, and then the resistance was suppressed with say a hundred thousand people killed, and then the Eastern part of the United States “invaded” the Western part, that wouldn’t be just an invasion: that would be a little too simple. And something like that happened in Korea.
  133. According to the Israeli Labor Party press, when the Arab League proposed a Saudi Arabian-initiated peace plan for the region in August 1981, Israel sent U.S.-supplied F-14 fighters over the Saudi Arabian oil fields as a warning to Western intelligence agencies—meaning, if you take this peace plan seriously, you’re all going to be in trouble, we’ll destroy those oil fields.
  134. In fact, just to make sure that there always is a real danger [somewhere in the world], we also have to sell all these Third World powers high-tech weaponry—the U.S. in fact very quickly became the biggest arms dealer to the Third World after the Cold War ended.
  135. Remember, Jordan is a poor Third World country: it hasn’t had any of the advantages that Israel has had in being the chief American client-state, and before the 1967 war, the West Bank was somewhat more developed than Jordan. Well, today the disparity is extraordinarily in the opposite direction. So in Jordan, there’s rich agriculture, and highways, and factories, and other things like that—but right across the border, the West Bank is a total disaster: Israel hasn’t allowed a cent to go into it; in fact, they’ve taken a lot of money out of it.
  136. Europe has a very bloody history, an extremely savage and bloody history, with constant massive wars and so on, and that was all part of an effort to establish the nation-state system. It has virtually no relation to the way people live, or to their associations, or anything else particularly, so it had to be established by force. And it was established by centuries of bloody warfare. That warfare ended in 1945—and the only reason it ended is because the next war was going to destroy everything. So it ended in 1945—we hope, if it didn’t, it will destroy everything.
  137. When the British and other colonists came to [North America], they simply destroyed everything—and pretty much the same thing happened everywhere else in the world. You go back to about the sixteenth century and the populations of Africa and Europe were approximately comparable; a couple centuries later, the population of Europe was far higher, maybe four times as high. Why did that change? Well, you know, those were the effects of European colonization.
  138. As long as the major powers in the world are lawless and violent, and are unwilling to enter into international arrangements or other kinds of mechanisms which would constrain force and violence, there’s very little hope for human survival, I would think.
  139. Well, [capitalism] doesn’t work out, and it’s never going to work out: if you’re maximizing short-term profits without concern for the long-term effects, you are going to destroy the environment, for one thing. I mean, you can pretend up to a certain point that the world has infinite resources and that it’s an infinite wastebasket—but at some point you’re going to run into the reality, which is that that isn’t true.
  140. The people who are known [in movements] are riding the crest of some wave. Now, you can ride the crest of the wave and try to use it to get power, which is the standard thing, or you can ride the crest of the wave because you’re helping people that way, which is another thing. But the point is, it’s the wave that matters—and that’s what people ought to understand.
  141. On the Waterfront is about this Marlon Brando or somebody who stands up for the poor working man against the corrupt union boss. Okay, things like that exist, but that’s not unions—I mean, sure, there are plenty of union bosses who are crooked, but nowhere near as many as C.E.O.s who are crooked, or what have you. But since On the Waterfront combined that anti-union message with “standing up for the poor working man,” it became a huge hit.
  142. You can lie as much as you want in the Boston Globe or something, but the people who read the Wall Street Journal have to have a tolerable sense of reality when they go out to make money. So in journals like Business Week and Fortune, you’ll typically find an awful lot of very useful information. These are journals that you shouldn’t buy, incidentally, they’re too expensive; but you should steal them if you can. They’re also in the library.
  143. 83 percent of the American population thinks that the economic system is inherently unfair, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
  144. The Boston Globe published one of my favorite polls, in which they have people little slogans and said, “Guess which ones are in the Constitution.” Of course, nobody knows what’s in the Constitution, because everybody forgot what they learned in third grade, and probably they didn’t pay any attention to it then anyway—so what the question really was asking is, “What is such an obvious truism that it must be in the Constitution?” Well, one of the suggestions was, “What about ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’?” [a slogan from Karl Marx]. Half the American population thinks that’s in the Constitution, because it’s such an obvious truth—it’s so obviously true that it must be in the Constitution, where else could it come from?
  145. And [class issues] are not the only issues that have to be dealt with, it’s just that they’re the most important ones—because they’re right at the core of the whole system of oppression. And also, they’re the hardest ones, because there you’re dealing with solid institutional structures where the core of private power is involved. I mean, other issues are hard too—like issues of patriarchy are hard. But they’re modifiable without changing the whole system of power. Class issues aren’t.
  146. There is never any point in getting some person into office unless you can continue forcing them to be your representative, and they will only continue to be your representative as long as you are active and threatening enough to make them do what you want, otherwise they’re going to stop being your representative.
  147. [Regarding boycotts] suppose you stopped consuming altogether—you can live on subsistence farming in the United States in a lot of places, so suppose you did that. The effect on the general society would be exactly as if you decided to commit suicide: it would simply go on as before, but without you. Bear in mind that a lot of these things about “let’s really make a change by withdrawing from the world and living a decent life” have precisely the social effect of suicide—well, that’s a little too extreme, because people might notice and become interested and involved, so maybe it’s a little bit more than suicide. But not a lot.
  148. The International Labor Organization recently gave its latest estimate of unemployment worldwide—“unemployment” they define as meaning not having enough work to meet a subsistence level, so maybe you can sell some handkerchiefs at a street corner or something, but you don’t have enough work to survive on your own. They estimate that at about 30 percent of the world’s population—which makes it a lot worse than the Great Depression. Alright? Now, there’s a ton of work to be done in the world—everywhere you look there’s work that ought to be done. And the people who don’t have work would be delighted to do it. So what you’ve got is a huge number of idle hands, a vast amount of work that ought to be done, and an economic system that is incapable of putting those two things together. Okay, absolutely catastrophic failure.
  149. There are plenty of things that can be done; I don’t think they have to be described with fancy terms. And we just do the things that can be done, the kinds of things that are the next stage. There aren’t any general formulas about that—you just ask where you are, what are the problems that exist, where are people ready to move? And then you try to do something with them. There’s a whole spectrum of actions you can take, and there’s no simple answer as to which ones should have the priority—people judge differently.
  150. If you live in a poor neighborhood, it’s frightening—unpleasant things can happen to you and your children. And when it’s frightening, people want something to protect themselves—and if protecting yourself means having armed guards all around, or calling for more use of the death penalty or something, well, then you’ll go for that. If the choices are narrowed to your child being attacked in the halls and getting a rotten education, or having “private choices”—sure, people will pick the “private choices.” But the task of the left is to extend those options, to let people know that there is another option, the option of a decent life: which is neither schools as prisons, nor pull yourself out and let everybody else stay in the prison—which what the whole “privatization of education” story is really about.
  151. So I think that it’s completely realistic and rational to work within structures to which you are opposed, because by doing so you can help to move to a situation where then you can challenge those structures.
  152. A number of years ago when I had little kids, there was a rabid raccoon running around our neighborhood biting children…we just called the police and had them [kill] it: it was better than having the kids bitten by a rabid raccoon, right? Is there a contradiction there? No: in particular circumstances, you sometimes have to accept and use illegitimate structures. Well, we happen to have a huge rabid raccoon running around—it’s called corporations. And there is nothing in the society right now that can protect people from that tyranny, except the federal government. Now, it doesn’t protect them very well, because mostly it’s run by the corporations, but still it does have some limited effect—it can enforce regulatory measures under public pressure, let’s say, it can reduce dangerous toxic waste disposal, it can set minimum standards on health care, and so on. In fact, it has various things that it can do to improve the situation when there’s this huge rabid raccoon dominating the place. So, fine, I think we ought to get it to do the things it can do—if you can get rid of the raccoon, great, then let’s dismantle the federal government. But to say, “Okay, let’s just get rid of the federal government as soon as we possibly can,” and then let the private tyrannies take over everything—I mean, for an anarchist to advocate that is just outlandish, in my opinion.
  153. Well, law is a bit like a printing press—it’s kind of neutral, you can make it do anything. I mean, what lawyers are taught in law school is chicanery: how to convert words on paper into instruments of power. And depending where the power is, the law will mean different things.
  154. Well, as I look over history, I don’t find much [evidence of conspiracies]. I mean, there are some cases—for instance, at one point a group of Nazi generals thought of assassinating Hitler. Okay, that’s a conspiracy. But things like that are real blips on the screen, as far as I can see. Now, if people want to spend time studying the group of Nazi generals who decided it was time to get rid of Hitler, that’s a fine topic for a monograph—maybe somebody will write a thesis about it. But we’re not going to learn anything about the world from it, at least nothing that generalizes to the next case—it’s all going to be historically contingent and specific; it’ll show you how one particular group of people acted under particular circumstances. Fine.
  155. There’s very little evidence—in fact, I don’t know of any—that the C.I.A. is some kind of rogue elephant, you know, off on its own doing things. What the record shows is that the C.I.A. is just an agency of the White House, which sometimes carries out operations for which the Executive branch wants what’s called “plausible deniability”: in other words, if something goes wrong, we don’t want it to look like we did it, those guys in the C.I.A. did it, and we can throw some of them to the wolves if we need to. That’s basically the role of the C.I.A., along with mostly just collection of information.
  156. You basically have two choices. One choice is to assume the worst, and then you can be guaranteed that it’ll happen. The other is to assume that there’s some hope for change, in which case it’s possible that you can help to effect change. So you’ve got two choices, one guarantees the worst will happen, the other leaves open the possibility that things might get better. Given those choices, a decent person doesn’t hesitate.
  157. The fact that it was dominantly a youth movement in the Sixties had good and bad aspects, and one bad aspect was this sense that if you don’t achieve quickly, you’d might as well quit. But of course, that’s not the way changes come. The struggle against slavery went on forever, the struggle for women’s rights has been going on for centuries, the effort to overcome “wage slavery”—that’s been going on since the beginnings of the industrial revolution, we haven’t advanced an inch. In fact, we’re worse off than we were a hundred years ago in terms of understanding the issues. Well, okay, you just keep struggling.
  158. There is enough evidence from history and experience to demonstrate that human nature is entirely consistent with [corruption, egotism, etc.]—in fact, by definition it has to be. So we know that human nature, and that includes our nature, yours and mine, can very easily turn people into quite efficient torturers and mass murderers and slave-drivers. We know that—you don’t have to look very far for evidence. But what does that mean? Should people therefore not try to stop torture? If you see somebody beating a child to death, should you say, “Well, you know, that’s human nature”—which it is in fact: there certainly are conditions under which people will act like that. To the extent [it’s] true, and there is such an extent, it’s just not relevant: human nature also has the capacity to lead to selflessness, and cooperation, and sacrifice, and support, and solidarity, and tremendous courage, and lots of other things too.
  159. Take the treatment of children, for example. In the medieval period, it was considered quite legitimate to either kill them, or throw them out, or treat them brutally, all sorts of things. It still happens of course, but now it’s regarded as pathological, not proper. Well, it’s not that we have a different moral capacity than people did in the Middle Ages, it’s just that the situation’s changed: there are opportunities to think about things that weren’t available in a society that had a lower material production level and so on. So we’ve just learned more about our own moral sense in that area.
  160. In fact, it’s kind of intriguing to see how we regard [animal rights]. Take cock-fighting, for example, in which cocks are trained to tear each other to shreds. Our culture happens to regard that as barbaric; on the other hand, we train humans to tear each other to shreds—they’re called boxing matches—and that’s not regarded as barbaric. So there are things that we don’t permit of cocks that we permit of poor people. Well, you know, there are some funny values at work there.
  161. I mean, undoubtedly the way in which we look at things and make judgments about them and assess them has a significant and notable cultural factor. But that aside, we certainly are capable, and everybody does it, of making moral judgments and evaluations in entirely new situations—we do that all the time; we may not by consciously evaluating all the new circumstances we’re faced with, but we’re certainly at least tacitly doing it, and the results of those evaluations are the basis for our choices of action, our doing one thing and not another. So we’re constantly making all kinds of judgments, including moral judgments, aesthetic judgments, and all sorts of others, about new things and new situations. Well, either it’s being done just randomly, sort of like pulling something out of a hat—which certainly doesn’t seem to be true, either introspectively or by observation—or else we’re doing it on the basis of some moral system that we have built into our minds somehow, which gives answers, or at least partial answers, to a whole range of new situations.
  162. Actually, contributing to [the conclusion that morality is somewhat genetically wired] is just the fact that we can have moral discourse to begin with. So take an issue on which people were really split, take slavery. It wasn’t just an intellectual debate, obviously—there was a huge amount of struggle involved—but insofar as there was an intellectual debate, it had a certain shared moral ground to it…For instance, the slave owners argued, “You take better care of a slave if you own it than if you rent it.” Like, you take better care of your car if you own it that if you rent it, so you take better care of your worker if you own it than if you rent it—so slavery’s benevolent and “free market” is morally atrocious. And the slave owners in fact said, “Look, we’re a lot more benevolent than you guys with your capitalist wage-slave system.”…So the point is, on all sides of debates like these, people understand that they have to appeal to the same basic moral principles, even if what they’re doing is totally venal. I mean, it’s extremely rare even for an S.S. guard or a torturer to say, “I’m doing this because I like to be a son of a bitch.” We all do bad things in our lives, and if you think back, it’s very rare that you’ve said, “I’m doing this just because I feel like it”—people reinterpret things in order to fit them into a basic framework of moral values, which in fact we all share.
  163. Well, somebody who’s really unsophisticated might think that the problem [with declining test scores in the U.S.] could have something to do with social policies that have driven 40 percent of the children in New York City below the poverty line, for example—but that issue never arises for the New York Times. Instead the problem is bad genes. The problem is that blacks, who evolved in Africa, evolved in kind of a hostile climate, so therefore they evolved in such a way that black mothers don’t nurture their children—and also they breed a lot, they all breed like rabbits. And the effect is, the gene pool in the United States is being contaminated, and now it’s starting to show up in standardized test scores. This is real hard science.
  164. In the 1980s, hunger declined in general throughout the entire world, with two exceptions: sub-Saharan Africa and the United States—the poorest part of the world and the richest part of the world, there hunger increased. And as a matter of fact, between 1985 and 1990, hunger in the United States increased by 50 percent—it took a couple years for the Reagan “reforms” to start taking hold, but by 1985 they were beginning to have their effects.
  165. Why not ask why absolutist organizations have any right to exist in the first place? I mean, why should a corporation—technically a fascist organization of enormous power—have any right to tell you what kind of work you’re going to do? Why is that any better than having a king tell you what kind of work you’re going to do? People fought against that and overthrew it, and we can fight against it again and overthrow it.
  166. Take tax deductions for home mortgages: about 80 percent of that welfare going to people with incomes of over $50,000 a year, and the deductions get disproportionately greater the higher your income—like, if you have a million-dollar home, you get a much bigger write-off than if you have a two hundred thousand-dollar home or something.
  167. In fact, we always hear in the media and from politicians how there’s so much welfare for the poor in the United States, but the reality is that the United States is completely off the international spectrum in this respect—we give far less than any other industrialized country.
  168. So Bill Clinton and all the others are talking about “welfare reform” these days—but no one’s suggesting that we put executives to work: they’re going to keep getting welfare, it’s only poor mothers who are supposed to be forced into “work obligations” [i.e. parents must obtain jobs or lose benefits after receiving welfare for a specific period]. It’s these seven-year-old kids who now have to be forced to internalize our values: that there are no human rights, they don’t exist, the only human rights people have are what they can gain for themselves on the labor market. And the way they’re going to be forced to learn those lessons is by driving their mothers to work—instead of all this non-work like raising children. I mean, it’s astonishing the sexism that has been so institutionalized in the culture that people just accept the idea that raising children isn’t “work”—“work” is things like speculating in financial markets. Child-care’s just taken for granted, it’s supposed to come free because you don’t get a paycheck for it.
  169. There was recently an O.E.C.D. [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] study of the international drug racket, and they estimated that about a half trillion dollars of drug money gets laundered internationally every year—more than half of it through American banks. I mean, everybody talks about Colombia as the center of drug-money laundering, but they’re a small player: they have about $10 billion going through, U.S. banks have about $260 billion. Okay, that’s serious crime—it’s not like robbing a grocery store. So American bankers are laundering huge amounts of drug money, everybody knows it: how many bankers are in jail? None. But if a black kid gets caught with a joint, he goes to jail…Or why not ask another question—how many U.S. chemical corporation executives are in jail? Well, in the 1980s, the C.I.A. was asked to do a study on chemical exports to Latin America, and what they estimated was that more than 90 percent of them are not being used for industrial production at all—and if you look at the kinds of chemicals they are, it’s obvious that what they’re really being used for is drug production.
  170. People’s image is that welfare has gone way up, but the reality is, it’s gone way, way down. So I don’t know if you’ve looked at the polls on this, but people’s attitudes are really quite striking. For example, when you ask them, “Do you think we’re spending too much on welfare or too little?,” 44 percent say we’re spending too much, and 23 percent say we’re spending too little. But if you take exactly the same question and you just replace the word “welfare” with “assistance to the poor”—so now you’re saying, “Are we giving too much or too little assistance to the poor?”—the numbers change radically: 13 percent say it’s too much, and 64 percent say it’s too little. Alright, that’s kind of funny: what’s welfare? It’s assistance to the poor. So how come you get this strange result? Because people have bought the racist line. The image they have of “welfare” is black mothers driving Cadillacs past some poor white guy who’s working.
  171. The public relations industry doesn’t spend billions of dollars just for the fun of it.
  172. Deaths from tobacco far outweigh deaths from all hard drugs combined, probably by a factor of more than a hundred…I mean, there used to be a House Committee that regulated among other things the tobacco industry—it’s gone now, because it was flat taken over by a tobacco company—but in its last meeting, its members released a study that made it to the back pages of the newspapers, and was very interesting. It turned out that the data that everybody had been using for the last couple years on the effects of passive smoking [i.e. breathing of smoke from other people’s cigarettes] were coming from tobacco-industry studies—and they were faked. People re-did the studies and found that they were a total fraud, they made the problem look far less significant. Alright, that means these tobacco-industry executives and their U.S. government puppets have been killing thousands and thousands of people—they’re killing young children, say, whose mothers are smoking. Are they in jail? Why isn’t that violence?
  173. We’re telling China, “You don’t allow us to advertise tobacco to the emerging markets of women and youth, and we’ll close off your exports”—so then they just have to do it. Alright, recently there was a study done at Oxford University which estimated that of the kids under 20 alive today in China, about fifty million of them are going to die from tobacco-related diseases. Killing fifty million people is fairly impressive, even by twentieth-century standards—why isn’t that “violence”? That’s the violence of the American state working for the interests of American tobacco manufacturers. You wouldn’t need S.W.A.T. teams to go after that kind of violence, you’d just need to apply laws. The trouble is, it’s the rich and the powerful who enforce the laws, and they don’t want to apply them to themselves.
  174. So you sometimes hear about “America in decline”—and if you look at the share of the world’s manufacturing production that happens to take place in the United States, it’s true, that is in decline. But if you look at the share of the world’s manufacturing production that’s done by S-based corporations, that’s not in decline at all: in fact, it’s doing extremely nicely. It’s just that the production is now taking place mostly in the Third World. So you know, one can talk about the geographical entity “the United States”—but that is not what functions in world affairs.
  175. Back around 1970, about 90 percent of the capital involved in international economic transactions was being used for more or less productive commercial purposes, like production and trade, and about 10 percent was being used for speculation. Today those figures are reversed: by 1990, about 90 percent was being used for speculation, and by 1994 it was up to 95 percent.
  176. So every year Fortune magazine has an issue devoted to the well-being of the important people of the world, the “Fortune 500,” and what it’s reported during this period is that profits went through the sky: in 1993 they were very happy, in 1994 they were euphoric, and 1995 just broke all records. Meanwhile real wages were going down, growth was very low, production was low—and even the slow growth that’s been taking place has been halted at times because the bond market, as they put it, “signaled” that it didn’t like the growth. See, financial speculators don’t want growth: what they want is stable currencies, meaning no In fact, the business press talks very openly now about “the threat of too much employment”: they’re perfectly open about all of this, to one another. And the reason for it is, people who speculate against currencies are afraid of inflation—because it decreases the value of their money, so therefore it’s a big threat to them. And any kind of growth, any kind of stimulation of the economy, any decline of unemployment all threaten to increase inflation.
  177. Now the labor movement just has to be international—because there has to be something to prevent Daimler-Benz, for example, from destroying German work standards by shifting production over to Alabama, where wages are much lower, and the labor’s not unionized, and legislative protections for workers are much weaker. Or take the original Free Trade Agreement with Canada [implemented in 1989]: in the first few years of that, Canada lost a couple hundred thousand manufacturing jobs to the Southeastern United States for the same reasons.
  178. For instance, the Caterpillar corporation recently broke an eighteen-month strike in Decatur, Illinois [from June 1994 to December 1995], and part of the way they did it was by developing excess production capacity in foreign countries. See, major corporations have a ton of capital now, and one of the things they’ve been able to do with it is to build up extra overseas production capacity. So Caterpillar has been building plants in Brazil—where they get far cheaper labor than in the United States—and then they can use that production capability to fill their international orders in the event of a strike in the U.S. So they didn’t really mind the strike in Decatur…That’s something that’s relatively new, and given this increasing centralization of power in the international economy, and the ability of big transnational corporations to play one national workforce against another to drive down work standards everywhere, there just has to be international solidarity today if there’s going to be any hope—and that means real international solidarity.
  179. If I was talking about Soviet planning and I said, “Look, here’s what the Politburo decided, and then the Kremlin did this,” nobody would call that a “conspiracy theory”—everyone would just assume that I was talking about planning. But as soon as you start talking about anything that’s done by power in the West, then everybody calls it a “conspiracy theory.” You’re not allowed to talk about planning in the West, it’s not allowed to exist. So if you’re a political scientist, one of the things you learn—you don’t even make it into graduate school unless you’ve already internalized it—is that nobody here ever plans anything: we just act out of a kind of general benevolence, stumbling from here to here, sometimes making mistakes and so on. The guys in power aren’t idiots, after all. They do planning. In fact, they do very careful and sophisticated planning. But anybody who talks about it, and uses government records or anything else to back it up, is into “conspiracy theory.”…If you say: “Look, Chrysler is trying to maximize profits and market share,” that’s “conspiracy theory.” In other words, as soon as you describe elementary reality and attribute minimal rationality to people with power—well, that’s fine as long as it’s an enemy, but if it’s a part of domestic power, it’s a “conspiracy theory” and you’re not supposed to talk about it.
  180. It’s all conscious planning, there is just no doubt that a lot of very conscious planning goes on among intelligent people who are trying to maximize their power. They’d be insane if they didn’t do that. I mean, I’m not telling you anything new when I tell you that top editors, top government officials, and major businessmen have meetings together—of course. And not only do they have meetings, they belong to the same golf clubs, they go to the same parties, they went to the same schools, they flow up and back from one position to another in the government and private sector, and so on and so forth. In other words, they represent the same social class: they’d be crazy if they didn’t communicate and plan with each other.
  181. To talk about “corporate greed” is like talking about “military weapons” or something like that—there just is no other possibility. A corporation is something that is trying to maximize power and profit: that’s what it is. There is no “phenomenon” of corporate greed, and we shouldn’t mislead people into thinking there is.
  182. It’s hard to imagine a better way to demoralize people than to have them watch T.V. for seven hours a day—but that’s pretty much what people have been reduced to by now.
  183. Corruption’s a very good thing, because it undermines power.
  184. Less than 2 percent of the U.S. public favored military intervention in El Salvador, and 80 percent opposed sending advisers, according to March 1981 Gallup polls…The Reagan administration was so concerned about the public’s attitudes towards its policies that it developed plans to suspend the Constitution and impose martial law in the event of “national crises,” such as “violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad.”
  185. Vicente Navarro, “The 1984 Election and the New Deal: An Alternative interpretation (2 parts),” Social Policy…[reported] that polls during the 1980s regularly indicated that the public would support a tax increase devoted to New Deal and Great Society programs; support for equal or greater social expenditures was about 80 percent in 1984…95 percent of the public opposed cuts in Social Security, people preferred cuts in military spending to cuts in health programs by about 2 to 1,they supported the Clean Air Act by 7 to 1.
  186. This [U.S. Senate Select Committee] report explains that the White House and C.I.A. pursued a “two track” policy in Chile. The hard line called for a military coup, which was finally achieved. The soft line—which included a White House directive to “make the economy scream”—was explained by U.S. Ambassador Edward Korry, a Kennedy liberal, who stated: “not a nut or bolt will be allowed to reach Chile under Allende. Once Allende comes to power we shall do all within our power to condemn Chile and the Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty, a policy designed for a long time to come to accelerate the hard features of a Communist society in Chile.”…Military assistance was not cut off at the time of Allende’s confirmation. Military sales jumped sharply from 1972 to 1973 and even more sharply from 1973 to 1974 after the coup. Training of Chilean military personnel in Panama also rose during the Allende years…[increasing the number of trainees from 1969 to 1973 by 150 percent].
  187. [From a Boston Globe article:] With at least the tacit backing of Central Intelligence Agency officials, operatives linked to anti-Castro terrorists introduced African swine fever virus into Cuba in 1971. Six weeks later an outbreak of the disease forced the slaughter of 500,000 pigs to prevent a nationwide animal epidemic. A U.S. intelligence source said in an interview that he was given the virus in a sealed, unmarked container at an Army base and C.I.A. training ground in the Panama Canal Zone with instructions to turn it over to the anti-Castro group. The 1971 outbreak was the first and only time the disease had hit the Western Hemisphere. It was labeled the “most alarming event” of 1971 by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization…All production of pork, a Cuban staple, came to a halt apparently for several months.
  188. [From World Military and Social Expenditures 1981, there were] at least 125 military conflicts since the end of World War II, 95 percent of them occurring in the Third World and in most cases involving foreign forces, with “western powers accounting for 79 percent of the interventions, communist for 6 percent.”
  189. [From Economics (Seventh Edition):] Before leaving the problem of achieving and keeping full employment, we should examine what would happen if the cold war were to give way to relaxed international tension. If America could cut down drastically on her defense expenditures, would that confront her with a depression problem that has merely been suppressed by reliance on armament production? The answer here is much like that given in Chapter 18 to the problem of some future acceleration of automation. If there is a political will, our mixed economy can rather easily keep C + I + G [C = consumption, I = investment, G = government spending] spending up to the level needed for full employment without armament spending. There is nothing special about G spending on jet bombers and intercontinental missiles that leads to a larger multiplier support of the economy than would other kinds of G
  190. [From Economist (London), 1985:] The share of American government R&D funds going for defense…rose from 47% in 1980 to 70% this year. Japan, in contrast, gives less than 1% of its government R&D funds to defense…Yet the differences in research priorities between, say, America with its defense bias and Japan with its market bias are less stark than the raw statistics suggest. The makers of science policy in most industrial countries are investing in the same group of core technologies—computers, materials and biotechnology. A review of science and technology policy by the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] notes that, biotechnology apart, the Pentagon and Japan’s ministry of international trade and industry (Miti) are putting their money into very similar kinds of R&D. In computer science, for example, both are trying to build a “fifth-generation” computer that can give a rudimentary imitation of human thinking…Miti has a $30m R&D program on fiber optics; the Pentagon is spending $40m a year on similar research…Does it matter whether the research sails under a military banner or a civilian one?
  191. [From Harry S. Truman and the War Scare of 1948:] Although the aircraft companies could not have been more eager to tap the U.S. treasury, their executives were also enormously concerned that any federal funds they might receive not even resemble—much less be called—a subsidy. Their reasoning was the same that impelled William Allen, the president of the Boeing Airplane Company, to insist that any computation of the airplane makers’ wartime profits be on the basis of sales, not investments. If the taxpayers were ever to realize how much the creation, expansion and current well-being of the aircraft industry depended on money they had provided, Allen and his counterparts feared, their outrage might result in a demand for nationalization. Advocates of such a measure might plausibly argue that as long as the public was expected to continue footing the bill to keep the airplane builders in operation, it might as well own that for which it was being forced to pay…The trick, therefore, was for the industry to achieve the beneficial effect of a subsidy without the appearance of having taken one.
  192. [Washington Post article quoting Financial Vice-President of the L.T.V. Aerospace Corporation, Samuel F. Downer, explaining why “the post-Vietnam war world must be bolstered with military orders:] “It’s basic,” he says. “Its selling appeal is defense of the home. This is one of the greatest appeals the politicians have to adjusting the system. If you’re the President and you need a control factor in the economy, and you need to sell this factor, you can’t sell Harlem and Watts but you can sell self-preservation, a new environment. We’re going to increase defense budgets as long as those bastards in Russia are ahead of us. The American people understand this.”
  193. [From Time, 1984:]For last year’s invasion of Grenada, by any measure a quick and efficient operation, the U.S. Army last week disclosed it had awarded 8,612 medals. What made the back-patting noteworthy was that no more than 7,000 officers and enlisted men ever set foot on the tiny Caribbean island…The awards included achievement medals to about 50 people based at the Pentagon.
  194. [From “What Makes The Soviet Character?” in Natural History, 1951:] The Russian baby was swaddled, as were most of the infants of Eastern peoples and as Western European infants used to be, but they were swaddled tighter and longer than were, for example, their neighbors, the Poles…This early period seems to have left a stronger impression on Russian character than the same period of learning does for members of many other societies in which the parents are more preoccupied with teaching skills appropriate to later stages of development…So we find in traditional Russian character elaborated forms of these very early learnings. There is a tendency to confuse thought and action, a capacity for impersonal anger as at the constriction of the swaddling bands…We may expect everything we do to look different to them from the way it looks to us…In communicating with people who think as differently as this, successful plans either for limited cooperation in the attainment of partial world goals or for active opposition depend upon our getting an accurate estimate of what the Soviet people of today are like. We must know just what the differences in their thinking and feeling are.
  195. [From “The U.N. Versus the U.S.” in the New York Times Magazine, 1984:] The question is not why American policy has diverged from that of other member states, but why the world’s most powerful democracy has failed to win support for its views among the participants in United Nations debates. The answer seems to lie in two underlying factors. The first and dominant one is the very structure and political culture that have evolved at the world body, tending in the process to isolate the United States and to portray it as a kind of ideological villain. The other fact is American failure to play the game of multilateral diplomacy with sufficient skill.
  196. [From Orwell’s introduction to Animal Farm:] The sinister fact about literary censorship in England is that it is largely voluntary. Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. Anyone who has lived in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news—things which on their own merits would get the big headlines—being kept right out of the British press, not because the government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that “it wouldn’t do” to mention that particular fact. So far as the daily newspapers go, this is easy to understand. The British press is extremely centralized, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is “not done” to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was “not done” to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion as almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.
  197. In a Jerusalem suburb, the [Israeli] army forced hundreds of inhabitants from their homes at midnight, then “concentrating” them outdoors a kilometer away for a two-hour lecture warning against “rioting.” A man of sixty-five who was ill was compelled to go by force. Inhabitants of the Daheisha refugee camp south of Bethlehem complain that on the night of December 25, 1979, the camp was surrounded by soldiers and all inhabitants between the ages of fourteen and sixty-five were compelled to stand outside in a driving rain from midnight to noon the next day while soldiers searched the houses; the governor warned of similar punishments if children continued to throw stones at Israeli cars. A man who asked why he was being arrested was beaten up while soldiers broke furniture in his house. On January 29, four hundred males from ages ten to seventy were again dragged from their houses at eight P.M. and made to stand outside in a cold winter rain for thirteen hours. The same thing happened at the refugee camp of Jalazoun, where inhabitants were compelled to spend an entire night out of doors in a snowstorm: “Children had probably thrown stones at Israeli cars after the chemistry laboratory of the school was destroyed by settlers, who did this in retaliation for stones being thrown, probably following cars being sabotaged in the camp by settlers, after children threw stones, etc., etc., etc.” Refugees report that “the new method, actually not so new, but much more sophisticated, is humiliation. The soldiers and the settlers want first of all to humiliate us. But they don’t understand that we have lost everything and the only thing we have left is our honor and that they will never be able to take that away from us.” Shortly after, thousands of dunams of cultivated land were sprayed by planes with herbicides in villages near Hebron, partly within the Green Line and partly within the occupied West Bank; several weeks earlier the same punishment had been meted out by the Green patrol, under the command of Minister of Agriculture (now Minister of Defense) Ariel Sharon, in the area of Kafr Kassem. “Residents of Silwad village, north of Ramallah, complain that during a curfew that was imposed last weekend on the village by the military government, soldiers broke into their homes, and that some of them beat up youths, humiliated adults and old people, stole vast sums of Israeli and foreign currency, and destroyed large quantities of food.” The reporter, Yehuda Litani, writes that “at first I could not believe what I heard, but the details (which were also told to other reporters) were repeated again and again in all versions by different people in the village. Only one woman lodged a complaint, the others felt that it was useless to complain.” Soldiers terrorized the village, beating old people and children with their hands and rifle butts. An eleven-month-old baby was taken out of a cradle and thrown to the floor. Schoolbooks and children’s notebooks were destroyed. “Their whole aim was to take revenge on us and to humiliate us,” one villager reported. Brutal treatment continued when some were taken away for questioning. It was later announced that investigators “had verified some of the villagers’ complaints.”…[Dani Rubenstein] witnessed a search in a West Bank refugee camp after two children had thrown stones at a military vehicle, during which all men and children from the camp were forced to sit out of doors for two whole days for intense questioning: “One of the officers who had conducted the questioning told me that he doesn’t know whether he will find the two children, but he is sure that during the long hours of questioning under the hot sun many other children will decide to throw stones at us at the first opportunity.”…[Instructions from a senior officer]: “Anybody you catch outside his home—first thing you beat him with a truncheon all over his body, except for his head. Don’t have pity on anyone. Don’t explain anything. Beat first, then, after you have finished, explain why…If you catch a small child, get out the whole family, line them up and beat the father before all his children. Don’t consider the beating a right; it is your duty—they do not understand any other way.”
  198. Palestinian educational systems have been the target of particular brutality. To cite only one example, in March 1978 Israeli troops surrounded a school in Beit Jala south of Jerusalem, “ordered the pupils, all in their early teens, to close their windows, then hurled beer-can-size canisters of U.S.-made antiriot gas into the packed classrooms…The students in second-floor classes were so frightened that they leaped 18 ft. to the rocky ground below. Ten…were hospitalized with fractures; several, according to the head of the local hospital, will have lifelong limps. Though military authorities at first denied the incident, it was confirmed to Time Jerusalem Bureau Chief Donald Neff by a score of local residents.”…There have been many similar cases.
  199. [From the Financial Times (London):] Water has become one of the most sensitive and intractable problems in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations on extending Palestinian self-rule to the West Bank and the division of the scarce resource between Arab and Jew throughout the region evokes strong emotions. For decades Israel has drawn 80 percent of the 670m cu. m. of water provided every year by the mountain aquifer, an underground water basin located mainly under the West Bank. Israeli military occupation orders in force since 1967, including a prohibition on drilling new wells, have prevented Palestinians getting better access to the aquifer. The aquifer provides a third of Israel’s water consumption, 40 percent of its drinking water and 50 percent of its agricultural water…Nothing symbolizes the inequality of water consumption more than the fresh green lawns, irrigated flower beds, blooming gardens and swimming pools of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Experts say the 120,000 settlers there consume at least 60m cu. m. of water a year from the mountain aquifer, compared with the 137m cu. m. allocated to the 1.5m West Bank Arabs. Some 69 percent of the land cultivated by settlers is irrigated compared with only 6 percent of Palestinian land.
  200. [From Anthony Coon’s Town Planning Under Military Occupation:] Under Israeli occupation new deep wells have been bored and extensive irrigated areas have been opened up [in the West Bank] but these are for exclusively Jewish use. Four fifths of the underground water abstracted from the West Bank is used not by Palestinians but by Jewish settlements or pumped into Israel. New Arab wells have (with very few exceptions) not been allowed since the occupation, nor may rates of extraction be increased, and many Arab wells especially in the Jordan Valley have been confiscated.
  201. [From David E. Stannard’s American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World:] Between the time of initial contact with the European invaders and the close of the seventeenth century, most eastern Indian peoples had suffered near-annihilation levels of destruction; typically, as in Virginia and New England, 95 percent or more of their populations had been eradicated. But even then the carnage did not stop. One recent study of population trends in the southeast, for instance, shows that east of the Appalachians in Virginia the native population declined by 93 percent between 1685 and 1790—that is, after it already had declined by about 95 percent during the preceding century, which itself had followed upon the previous century’s whirlwind of massive destruction…As a result, when the eighteenth century was drawing to its close, less than 5000 native people remained alive in all of eastern Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Louisiana combined, while in Florida—which alone contained more than 700,000 Indians in 1520—only 2000 survivors could be found. Overwhelmingly, these disasters were the result of massively destructive epidemics and genocidal warfare, while a small portion of the loss in numbers derived from forced expulsion from the Indians’ traditional homelands.
  202. [From The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest:] David Pieterszoon de Vries has left us an unforgettable picture of how Dutch mercenaries acted, under orders of New Netherland’s Governor Willem Kieft, to terrorize Indians into paying tribute. “About midnight, I heard a great shrieking, and I ran to the ramparts of the fort, and looked over to Pavonia. Saw nothing but firing, and heard the shrieks of the Indians murdered in their sleep…When it was day the soldiers returned to the fort, having massacred or murdered eighty Indians, and considering they had done a deed of Roman valour, in murdering so many in their sleep; where infants were torn from their mother’s breasts, and hacked to pieces in the presence of the parents, and the pieces thrown into the fire and in the water, and other sucklings being bound to small boards, and then cut, stuck, and pierced, and miserably massacred in a manner to move a heart of stone. Some were thrown into the river, and when the fathers and mothers endeavoured to save them, the soldiers would not let them come on land, but made both parents and children drown—children from five to six years of age, and also some old and decrepit persons. Many fled from this scene, and concealed themselves in the neighbouring sedge, and when it was morning, came out to beg a piece of bread, and to be permitted to warm themselves; but they were murdered in cold blood and tossed into the water. Some came by our lands in the country with their hands, some with their legs cut off, and some holding their entrails in their arms, and others had such horrible cuts, and gashes, that worse than they were could never happen.”
  203. [From The State of Native America: Genocide, Colonization, and Resistance:] By the mid-19th century, U.S. policymakers were stating—openly, frequently, and in plain English—that their objective was no less than the “complete extermination” of any native peoples who resisted being dispossessed of their lands, subordinated to federal authority, and assimilated into the colonizing culture. The country was as good as its word on the matter, perpetrating literally hundreds of massacres of Indians by military and paramilitary formations at points all over the West. A bare sampling of some of the worst must include the 1854 massacre of perhaps 150 Lakotas at Blue River (Nebraska), the 1863 Bear River (Idaho) Massacre of some 500 Western Shoshones, the 1864 Sand Creek (Colorado) Massacre of as many as 250 Cheyennes and Arapahoes, the1868 massacre of another 300 Cheyennes at the Washita River (Oklahoma), the 1875 massacre of about seventy-five Cheyennes along the Sappa Creek (Kansas), the 1878 massacre of still another 100 Cheyennes at Camp Robinson (Nebraska), and the 1890 massacre of more than 300 Lakotas at Wounded Knee (South Dakota)…Sherburn F. Cook has compiled an excruciatingly detailed chronology of the actions of self-organized white “militias” in northern California, mostly along the Mad and Eel Rivers, for the years 1855-1865. The standard technique was to surround an Indian village (or “rancheria,” as they were called by Californians) in the dead of night, set it ablaze and, if possible, kill everyone inside. “Much of the killing in California and southern Oregon Territory resulted, directly and indirectly, from the discovery of gold in 1849 and the subsequent influx of miners and settlers…It was not uncommon for small groups or villages to be attacked by immigrants…and virtually wiped out overnight…” Thornton has observed that, “Primarily because of the killings—which some scholars say had been…over 700,000—[the population] decreased almost by two-thirds in a single decade…By 1900, the combined native population of California numbered only 15,377.
  204. [From Adolf Hitler:] Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicability of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States’ history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild West; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination—by starvation and uneven combat—of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.
  205. Hitler’s attitude was far from unique. Comparing the Arabs in Palestine to a dog in a manger, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill remarked…: “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit, for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, or at any rate, a more worldly-wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”…Theodore Roosevelt: “No other conquering and colonizing nation has ever treated the original savage owners of the soil with such generosity as has the United States…It is indeed a warped, perverse, and silly morality which would forbid a course of conquest that has turned whole continents into the seats of mighty and flourishing civilized nations. All men of sane and wholesome thought must dismiss with impatient contempt the plea that these continents should be reserved for the use of scattered savage tribes, whose life was but a few degrees less meaningless, squalid, and ferocious than that of the wild beasts with whom they held joint ownership…Most fortunately, the hard, energetic, practical men who do the rough pioneer work of civilization in barbarous lands, are not prone to false sentimentality. The people who are, these stay-at-homes are too selfish and indolent, too lacking in imagination, to understand the race-importance of the work which is done by their pioneer brethren in wild and distant lands…The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages, though it is apt to be also the most terrible and inhuman. The rude, fierce settler who drives the savage from the land lays all civilized mankind under a debt to him…It is of incalculable importance that America, Australia, and Siberia should pass out of the hands of their red, black, and yellow aboriginal owners, and become the heritage of the dominant world races.”…Andrew Jackson: “Humanity has often wept over the fate of the aborigines of this country, and philanthropy has been long busily employed in devising means to avert it, but its progress has never for a moment been arrested, and one by one have many powerful tribes disappeared from the earth. To follow to the tomb the last of his race and to tread on the graves of extinct nations excite melancholy reflections. But true philanthropy reconciles the mind to these vicissitudes as it does to the extinction of one generation to make room for another…Nor is there anything in this which, upon a comprehensive review of the general interests of the human race, is to be regretted…The present policy of the Government is but a continuation of the same progressive change by a milder process. The tribes which occupied the countries now constituting the Eastern States were annihilated or have melted away to make room for the whites. The waves of population and civilization are rolling to the westward, and we now propose to acquire the countries occupied by the red men of the South and West by a fair exchange, and, at the expense of the United States, to send them to a land where their existence may be prolonged…Rightly considered, the policy of the General Government toward the red man is not only liberal, but generous.”
  206. [From American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World:] The surviving Indians later referred to [President George] Washington by the nickname “Town Destroyer,” for it was under his direct orders that at least 28 out of 30 Seneca towns from Lake Erie to the Mohawk River had been totally obliterated in a period of less than five years, as had all the towns and villages of the Mohawk, the Onondaga, and the Cayuga. As one of the Iroquois told Washington to his face in 1792: “to this day, when that name is heard, our women look behind them and turn pale, and our children cling close to the necks of their mothers.” [President Thomas] Jefferson…in 1807 instructed his Secretary of War that any Indians who resisted American expansion into their lands must be met with “the hatchet.” “And…if ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe,” he wrote,” we will never lay it down till the tribe is exterminated, or is driven beyond the Mississippi,” continuing: “in war, they will kill some of us; we shall destroy all of them…” Indeed, Jefferson’s writings on Indians are filled with the straightforward assertion that the natives are to be given a simple choice—to be “extirpated from the earth” or to remove themselves out of the Americans’ way. Had these same words been enunciated by a German leader in 1939, and directed at European Jews, they would be engraved in modern memory.
  207. [From The Wealth of Nations:] It cannot be very difficult to determine who have been the contrivers of this whole mercantile system; not the consumers, we may believe, whose interest has been entirely neglected; but the producers, whose interest has been so carefully attended to; and among this latter class our merchants and manufacturers have been by far the principal architects. In the mercantile regulations, which have been taken notice of in this chapter, the interest of our manufacturers has been most peculiarly attended to; and the interest, not so much of the consumers, as that of some other set of producers, has been sacrificed to it…The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public…The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it…[The monopoly of Great Britain over its colonies], I have endeavoured to show, though a very grievous tax upon the colonies, and though it may increase the revenue of a particular order of men in Great Britain, diminishes instead of increasing that of the great body of people.
  208. [From Russia as a “Developing Society”—The Roots of Otherness: Russia’s Turn of the Century:] In 1900, the income per capita in Russia was three times lower than in Germany, four times below the U.K., one-third lower than even the Balkans. Because of the extreme diversity between the very rich and the very poor these average figures still understate the poverty of Russia’s poor…Much poorer than Western Europe, Russia was not actually “catching up” in terms of the aggregate income per capita, productivity, or consumption.
  209. [The World Bank’s] statistics indicate that Eastern European’s per capita gross domestic product was 15.7 percent higher than Latin America’s in 1913, but 77.6 percent higher by 1989. Furthermore, none of these figures take into account wealth distribution, which was far more skewed in both the OECD countries and Latin America than in Eastern Europe.
  210. [From “U.S. Foreign Policy and Human Rights Violations in Latin America: A Comparative Analysis of Foreign Aid Distributions”:] The correlations between the absolute level of U.S. assistance to Latin America and human rights violations by recipient governments are…uniformly positive, indicating that aid has tended to flow disproportionately to Latin American governments which torture their citizens. In addition, the correlations are relatively strong…United States aid tended to flow disproportionately to the hemisphere’s relatively egregious violators of fundamental human rights.
  211. [From Political Violence in Colombia: Myth and Reality:] Colombia’s backers, notably the United States of America, have also remained silent when aid destined to combat drug-trafficking was diverted to finance counter-insurgency operations and thence the killing of unarmed peasants…The perception of drug-trafficking as the principal cause of political violence in Colombia is a myth…Statistics compiled by independent bodies and by the government itself clearly show that by far the greatest number of political killings are the work of the Colombian armed forces and the paramilitary groups they have created…In 1992 the Andean Commission of Jurists estimated that drug traffickers were responsible for less than two per cent of non-combat politically motivated killings and “disappearances”; some 20 per cent were attributed to guerrilla organizations and over 70 per cent were believed to have been carried out by the security forces and paramilitary groups.
  212. [From Dear Bess: the Letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910-1959:] I like Stalin. He is straightforward. Knows what he wants and will compromise when he can’t get it…Uncle Joe gave his dinner last night. There were at least twenty-five toasts—so much getting up and down that there was practically no time to eat or drink either—a very good thing…Since I’d had America’s No. 1 pianist to play for Uncle Joe at my dinner he had to go me one better. I had one and one violinist—and he had two of each…The old man loves music…Stalin felt so friendly that he toasted the pianist when he played a Tskowsky (you spell it) piece especially for him…[From Truman’s private papers]: “A common everyday citizen [in Russia] has about as much say about his government as a stock holder in the Standard Oil of New Jersey has about his Company. But I don’t care what they do. They evidently like their government or they wouldn’t die for it. I like ours so let’s get along.” “I can deal with Stalin. He is honest—but smart as hell.”
  213. [From A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War:] Humanitarian impulses also were a minor influence on U.S. policy. Principles were espoused because they served American interests and because they accorded with American ideological predilections and not because top officials felt a strong sense of empathy with the peoples under former Nazi rule and potential Soviet tutelage…In Washington, top officials—Truman, Byrnes, Leahy, Forrestal, Patterson, Davies, Grew, Dunn, Lincoln—rarely thought about the personal travail cause by war, dislocation, and great power competition…Suffering had to be relieved and hope restored in order to quell the potential for revolution. Rarely does a sense of real compassion and/or moral fervor emerge from the documents and diaries of high officials. These men were concerned primarily with power and self-interest, not with real people facing real problems in the world that had just gone through fifteen years of economic strife, Stalinist terror, and Nazi genocide…Yet far from worrying about their inability to satisfy Stalin’s paranoia, American officialdom had great hope for Stalin in 1945. He appeared frank and willing to compromise.
  214. Churchill praised Stalin as a “great man, whose fame has gone out not only over all Russia but the world”; he spoke warmly of his relationship of “friendship and intimacy” with the bloodthirsty tyrant; “My hope,” Churchill said, “is in the illustrious President of the United States and in Marshal Stalin, in whom we shall find the champions of peace, who after smiting the foe will lead us to carry on the task against poverty, confusion, chaos, and oppression”; during the war he signed his letters to Stalin, “Your friend and war-time comrade.”
  215. A 1937 Report of the State Department’s European Division described the rise of Fascism as the natural reaction of “the rich and middle classes, in self-defense” when the “dissatisfied masses, with the example of the Russian revolution before them, swing to the Left.” Fascism therefore must succeed or the masses, this time reinforced by the disillusioned middle classes, will again turn to the Left.” The Report also noted that “if Fascism cannot succeed by persuasion [in Germany], it must succeed by force.” It concluded that “economic appeasement should prove the surest route to world peace,” a conclusion based on the belief that Fascism as a system was compatible with U.S. interests.
  216. The American charge d’affaires in Berlin wrote to Washington in 1933 that the hope for Germany lay in “the more moderate section of the [Nazi] party, headed by Hitler himself…which appeal[s] to all civilized and reasonable people,” and seems to have “the upper hand” over the violent fringe. “From the standpoint of stable political conditions, it is perhaps well that Hitler is now in a position to wield unprecedented power,” noted the American Ambassador, Frederic Sackett…The U.S. reaction to Fascist Italy before the war was similar. A high-level inquiry of the Wilson administration determined in December 1917 that with rising labor militancy, Italy posed “the obvious danger of social revolution and disorganization.” A State Department official noted privately that “If we are not careful we will have a second Russia on our hands,” adding: “The Italians are like children” and “must be [led] and assisted more than almost any other nation.” Mussolini’s Blackshirts solved the problem by violence. They carried out “a fine young revolution,” the American Ambassador to Italy observed approvingly, referring to Mussolini’s March on Rome in October 1922, which brought Italian democracy to an end. Racist goons effectively ended labor agitation with government help, and the democratic deviation was terminated; the United States watched with approval. The Fascists are “perhaps the most potent factor in the suppression of Bolshevism in Italy” and have much improved the situation generally, the Embassy reported to Washington, while voicing some residual anxiety about the “enthusiastic and violent young men” who have brought about these developments. The Embassy continued to report the appeal of Fascism to “all patriotic Italians,” simple-minded folk who “hunger for strong leadership and enjoy…being dramatically governed.”
  217. [From The Splendid Blond Beast: Money, Law, and Genocide in the Twentieth Century:] U.S. investment in Germany accelerated rapidly after Hitler came to power, despite the Depression and Germany’s default on virtually all of its government and commercial loans. Commerce Department reports show that U.S. investment in Germany increased some 48.5 percent between 1929 and 1940, while declining sharply everywhere else in continental Europe. U.S. investment in Great Britain…barely held steady over the decade, increasing only 2.6 percent.
  218. For a sample of the U.S. business press’s attitudes, see “The State: Fascist and Total,” Fortune, July 1934 [special issue devoted to Italian Fascism]…This issue comments approvingly that “the purpose and effect of Fascism” is “to unwop the wops,” and that the idea that the Italians ought to resent Fascism “is a confusion, and we can only get over it if we anesthetize for the moment our ingrained idea that democracy is the only right and just conception of government.”
  219. [From The United States and the Origins of the Cuban Revolution:] [In 1960] a separate project to assassinate Castro and other top Cuban leaders, under discussion since December 1959, was also implemented by the C.I.A. Several of the actual attempts on Castro’s life were carried out by the agency with the cooperation of the U.S. Mafia. All of these actions were to be complemented by a program of economic denial and, eventually, of widespread economic warfare…[As a young man, Castro] was a revolutionary in search of a revolution, but he was not a communist. By temperament a caudillo [military leader], and by the definitions of U.S. political history never a democrat, Castro only became a Marxist sometime between fall 1960 and fall 1961.
  220. [From Die Zeit (West Germany), December 1988:] Today, more than 10,000 Cuban doctors, teachers, construction workers, and engineers work in 37 African, Asian, and Latin American countries…For Cubans, international service is a sign of personal courage, political maturity, and an uncompromising attitude toward the “imperialist enemy.” In schools, civilian assistance is taught as the highest virtue…Especially among teachers and construction workers, the will to do service exceeds the demand. “The waiting lists are getting longer,” sighs the director of Cubatécnica, Cuba’s state bureau for nonmilitary aid…”The more critical a situation becomes somewhere, the more people want to go. When we were trying to find 2,000 teachers for Nicaragua a few years ago, we got 29,500 applications. Shortly thereafter, four of our teachers were killed by the Contras. Subsequently, 92,000 teachers applied for service…” The reservoir of volunteers for international service seems inexhaustible: In 1985, 16,000 Cuban civilians worked in Third World countries. In that same year, the U.S. had fewer than 6,000 Peace Corps development assistants in 59 countries and about 1,200 specialists from the Agency for International Development in 70 countries…Today, Cuba has more physicians working abroad than any industrialized nation, and more than the U.N.’s World Health Organization. Countries, like Angola, with little money, an infant mortality rate of more than 30 percent, and life expectancy of less than 50 years, receive free Cuban aid. To get doctors from international organizations, Angola would have to pay $1,500 to $2,000 a month for one physician, not to mention the costs of accommodations that meet the requirements of a Western doctor…Cuba’s international emissaries indeed are…not party theoreticians, but men and women who live under conditions that most development aid workers would not accept. And that is the basis for their success.
  221. [From Daedalus, Fall 1983:] There is a consensus among scholars of a wide variety of ideological positions that, on the level of life expectancy, education, and health, Cuban achievement is considerably greater than one would expect from its level of per capita income. A recent study comparing 113 Third World countries in terms of these basic indicators of popular welfare ranked Cuba first, ahead even of Taiwan.
  222. [From the Boston Globe, 1994:] Two years after the United States further tightened trade restrictions on Cuba, the economic embargo has contributed to an increase in hunger, illness, death and to one of the world’s largest neurological epidemics in the past century, according to U.S. health experts…”We always talk about Fidel Castro killing people,” said Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick, an anesthesiologist at the University of South Florida who co-authored an article on Cuba’s health crisis to be published in October in the Journal of the Florida Medical Association. “Well, the fact is that we are killing people.” A second report scheduled in the October issue of the journal Neurology cites the U.S. embargo for exacerbating the most alarming public health crisis in Cuba in recent memory. In the past two years, according to the study’s author, Dr. Gustavo Roman, the former chief of neuro-epidemiology at the National Institutes of Health, U.S. restrictions on food, medicine and access to up-to-date medical databases, have helped to encourage the spread of a rare neurological disease that has stricken more than 60,000 Cubans, leaving 200 legally blind. The disease, an optic nerve disorder last observed in tropical prison camps in Southeast Asia in World War II, is caused by a combination of poor diet, scarcity of the vitamin thiamine, high consumption of sugar and overexertion.
  223. [From The Lancet, 1996:] The United States trade embargo against Cuba has led to needless deaths, left hospitalized children lying in agony as essential drugs are denied them, and forced doctors to work with medical equipment at less than half efficiency because they have no spare parts for their machinery, according to an American study…Cubans’ daily intake of calories dropped a third between 1989 and 1993…Despite the difficulties, the country’s infant mortality rate is still only half that of Washington, D.C., and in access to health services, immunizations and life expectancy, Cuba compares with Europe…[Chomsky remarks: “These do not count as human rights violations; rather, the public version is that the goal of the sanctions is to overcome Cuba’s human rights violations.”]
  224. [From Central America Report, 1990:] President Guillermo Endara’s government receives one of its worst diplomatic setbacks since taking office, as the Group of Eight [what are considered the major Latin American democracies] formally ousts Panama from the organization, claiming the Endara government is illegal and demanding new elections…Basically they agreed on three points: Panama’s permanent separation from the G-8, a call for immediate presidential elections and the limiting of activities by U.S. troops…The final resolution noted that “the process of democratic legitimation in Panama requires popular consideration without foreign influence, that guarantees the full right of the people to freely choose their governments.”
  225. [From Panama: Made in the U.S.A.:] Regional bodies were unanimous in their condemnation of the [1989 U.S.] invasion and their calls for fresh elections. The Organization of American States approved a resolution “deeply deploring” the U.S. military intervention, with only the U.S. itself voting against.
  226. [From “Former Combat Commanders Critique Panama Invasion”:] The Dec. 20 assault on Panama that ousted dictator Manuel Noriega was planned and polished for months. The 13,000 U.S. troops based in Panama were at well-stocked bases and provided intelligence on the Panamanian Defense Forces and protection for the 14,000 invading troops…”It was a very, very easy operation, a very, very soft target,” said [Retired Colonel David Hackworth, one of the nation’s most decorated soldiers]…”I feel the operation could have been done by 100 Special Forces guys who could have gotten Noriega. This big operation was a Pentagon attempt to impress Congress just when they’re starting to cut back on the military…” The principal flaw in the invasion was the loss of surprise. Huge C-141 transport planes were landing at 10-minute intervals at Howard Air Force Base in Panama City as the invasion hour approached.
  227. [From Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II:] For months…the United States had been engaging in military posturing in Panama. U.S. troops, bristling with assault weapons, would travel in fast-moving convoys, escorted by armored vehicles, looking for all the world as if they planned to attack someone. U.S. Marines descended from helicopters by rope to practice emergency evacuation of the embassy. Panamanian military camps were surrounded and their gates rattled amid insults by U.S. servicemen. In one episode, more than 1,000 U.S. military personnel conducted an exercise that appeared to be a rehearsal of a kidnap raid, as helicopters and jet aircraft flew low over Noriega’s house and American raiders splashed ashore nearby.
  228. [From Aviation Week and Space Technology, 1990:] The U.S. Air Force employed the Lockheed F-117A stealth fighter in combat for the first time in support of an air drop of Army Rangers against a Panama Defense Forces installation at Rio Hato during the American invasion of Panama…There were conflicting reports as to the rationale for employing the sophisticated aircraft, which cost nearly $50 million apiece, to conduct what appeared to be a simple operation…The Panamanian air force has no fighter aircraft, and no military aircraft are stationed permanently at Rio Hato…Franz R. Manfredi…an aeronautical engineering consultant and charter operator based in Panama City, said he was astonished to hear the U.S. Air Force has employed the F-117A on the mission against Rio Hato. “They could have bombed it with any other aircraft and not been noticed,” he said. Manfredi said there is no radar at the Rio Hato airport, which operates only during the daylight hours…Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney, who visited Rio Hato on Dec. 25 and observed the craters left by the 2000-lb. bombs, said, “the reason we used that particular weapon is because of its great accuracy…” By demonstrating the F-117A’s capability to operate in low-intensity conflicts, as well as its intended mission to attack heavily defended Soviet targets, the operation can be used by the Air Force to help justify the huge investment made in stealth technology…to an increasingly skeptical Congress.
  229. [From The 1996 Report on Human Rights Around the World:] Amnesty International continued to express concern about the detention of people for the peaceful expression of their political or religious beliefs…New information came to light about the torture and ill-treatment of detainees in 1994. The victims included political and criminal prisoners. The most common methods of torture used included falaqa (beatings on the soles of the feet), beatings, suspension by the wrists, and electric shocks. Among the victims was Gulam Mustafa, a Pakistani national, who was reportedly subjected to electric shocks and had a metal stick inserted into his anus while held in a detention center for drug offenses in Jeddah in May 1994…Up to 200 other political detainees arrested in 1993 and 1994…continued to be held without charge or trial and without access to any legal assistance…The judicial punishments of amputation and flogging continued to be imposed for a wide range of offenses, including theft, consumption of alcohol and sexual offenses. At least nine people…had their right hands amputated…They had been convicted on charges of theft, burglary and robbery. The punishment of flogging was widely used…There was a sharp increase in the number of executions, the vast majority carried out by public beheading…Defendants facing the death penalty have no right to be formally represented by defense lawyers during their trials. Confessions, even when obtained under torture, are apparently accepted in court as evidence and may be the sole evidence on which conviction is based.
  230. On the World Bank’s structural adjustment package for Haiti after the coup, see Allan Nairn, “Aristide Banks on Austerity,” Multinational Monitor…The plan’s paragraph 10 directs that: “the renovated state must focus on an economic strategy centered on the energy and initiative of Civil Society, especially the private sector, both national and foreign.” Nairn reports that the plan commits Haiti: to eliminate the jobs of half its civil servants, “drastically” slash tariffs and import restrictions, eschew price and foreign exchange controls, grant “emergency” aid to the export sector, enforce an “open foreign investment policy,” create special corporate business courts “where the judges are more aware of the implications of their decisions for economic efficiency,” rewrite its corporate laws, “limit the scope of state activity” and regulation, and diminish the power of President Aristide’s executive branch in favor of the more conservative Parliament.
  231. [From “’Cap’ Rieber: He Came Off a Tanker to Build an Oil Empire and Prove that Industrial Daring is not Dead,” Life, July 1, 1940:] Rieber’s dealings with the Franco Government in Spain were a shrewd gamble. When the Spanish civil war broke out in July, 1936, Texaco had five tankers on the high seas bound for Spain. Rieber was in Paris. He flew to Spain, took a good look around and forthwith ordered the tankers to deliver their oil to the Insurgents [Franco’s Fascists]…For the next two years Texaco supplied Franco with all the oil he needed, while the Loyalists never had enough. If Franco had lost, Texaco would have been out some $6,000,000. But the gamble won and not only did victorious Franco pay his bill but the Spanish monopoly is currently buying all its oil from Texaco. For ambitious young men Rieber is a prime example of what it takes to be a successful tycoon.
  232. [From Killing Hope:] [An] Italian newspaper, the Daily American in Rome, for decades the country’s leading English-language paper, was for a long period in the 1950s to the ‘70s partly owned and/or managed by the C.I.A. “We ‘had’ at least one newspaper in every foreign capital at any given time,” the C.I.A. admitted in 1977, referring to papers owned outright or heavily subsidized, or infiltrated sufficiently to have stories printed which were useful to the Agency or suppress those it found detrimental.
  233. [From Détente and Confrontation:] In April [1976] Kissinger publicly warned against the possibility of the P.C.I. [Italian Communist Party] participating in a coalition government in Italy…[He stated:] “The extent to which such a party follows the Moscow line is unimportant. Even if Portugal had followed the Italian model, we would still have been opposed…[T]he impact of an Italian Communist Party that seemed to be governing effectively would be devastating—on France, and on N.A.T.O., too…” Eurocommunism was the term coined in 1975-76 to denote the new current of Western European communism that stressed independence of action for each party and embodied varying degrees of democratic and pluralistic tendencies…[T]he United States perceived Eurocommunism as threatening its interests in Western Europe…[and] the Soviet Union also came to see Eurocommunism as threatening its interests in Eastern Europe.
  234. [From The United States and the European Trade Union Movement, 1944-1951:] A few days after the liberation [of the industrial north of Italy, British Labour Party attaché W.H.] Braine left for a rapid turn through the northern cities. In Bologna, Milan, Turin, and Genoa he ran into an unexpected situation. The industrial plants were in good condition and working order. Activist optimism was to be seen everywhere. There were many serious problems, but the social fabric did not seem as torn apart as it was in the south. The first decrees of the Committee of National Liberation in Northern Italy (C.I.N.A.I.) and its rudimentary but effective administrative framework unequivocally demonstrated the existence of a new government. It was thin but widespread, and the Allies had to reckon with it…Braine requested immediate decisions on three important issues. He asked for suspension of the C.I.N.A.I. decrees blocking all dismissals [of workers], paying a “liberation bonus” to the workers, and establishing worker-management councils (C.D.G.) in industrial plants. The Allies and the Italian government must prevent the “arbitrary replacement” of business leaders with commissioners appointed by the workers or by the C.I.N. The Italian government must promptly prepare regulations, under the guidance of the A.C.C. [Allied Control Commission], to govern bargaining over wages and layoffs…The intention was to restore all power and responsibility for the operation of industrial plants to the hands of management, leaving a purely consultative role for the worker-management councils…A.M.G. power had been able to keep the working-class drive for political power in check, to rein in the most radical impulses of victorious antifascism, and to place the structure of industrial power under control, thus saving the prerogatives of the entrepreneurs. Sufficient bounds had been placed on labor mobilization to channel it into less damaging courses, laying a basis for institutionalizing and regulating the bargaining process.
  235. [From American Intervention in Greece:] Britain’s defeat of E.A.M. [National Liberation Front, the main anti-fascist resistance organization] in December 1944 shattered the hegemony of the left, emboldened the right, and opened the way for a royalist takeover of the organs of state power: the police, the army, and the administration…Throughout the countryside, right-wing mobs brutalized or killed leftists, republicans, and their families. National guardsmen attacked left-wing editors and smashed their printshops…As usual, the Russians accepted such developments with a cynical equanimity. “This war is not as in the past,” Stalin…[said] in the spring of 1945. “Whoever occupies a territory also imposes on it his own social system…” By the end of World War II, then, American policymakers were ready for the counterrevolutionary initiatives of subsequent years…Behind American policy, as behind that of Britain and Russia, lay the goal of containing the Greek left…”It is necessary only to glance at a map,” Truman declared [in his March 12, 1947, speech announcing the Truman Doctrine], to see that if Greece should fall to the rebels, “confusion and disorder might well spread throughout the entire Middle East…” Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr…protested that “this fascist government through which we have to work is incidental…”…In 1964, when [Greek Prime Minister] George Papandreou met with Lyndon Johnson in Washington, the atmosphere could hardly have been chillier. To make possible the establishment of N.A.T.O. bases on Cyprus, now independent and nonaligned, the President demanded the adoption of the “Acheson plan,” which entailed the partition of Cyprus between Greece and Turkey. Moreover, he threatened to withdraw N.A.T.O. aid if Greece did not accept the plan. When Papandreou responded that, “in that case, Greece might have to rethink the advisability of belonging to N.A.T.O.,” Johnson retorted that “maybe Greece should rethink the value of a parliament which could not take the right decision.” Later, the Greek ambassador remonstrated that “no Greek parliament could accept such a plan,” only to have the American President explode: “Fuck your parliament and your constitution. America is an elephant, Cyprus is a flea. If these two fellows continue itching the elephant, they may just get whacked by the elephant’s trunk, whacked good…If your Prime Minister gives me talk about democracy, parliament and constitution, he, his parliament, and his constitution may not last very long.”
  236. [From Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War:] In a nutshell, the Justice Department’s study [in 1983] acknowledged that a U.S. intelligence agency known as the Army Counterintelligence Corps (C.I.C.) had recruited Schutzstaffel (S.S.) and Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie for espionage work in early 1947; that the C.I.C. had hidden him from French war crimes investigators; and that it had then spirited him out of Europe through a clandestine “ratline”—escape route—run by a priest who was himself a fugitive from war crimes charges…Since the Barbie case broke open, however, there has been a chain of new discoveries of Nazis and S.S. men protected by and, in some cases, brought to the United States by intelligence agencies. One, for example, was S.S. officer Otto von Bolschwing, who once instigated a bloody pogrom in Bucharest and served as a senior aide to Adolf Eichmann. According to von Bolschwing’s own statement in a secret interview with U.S. Air Force investigators, in 1945 he volunteered his services to the Army C.I.C., which used him for interrogation and recruitment of other former Nazi intelligence officers. Later he was transferred to the C.I.A., which employed him as a contract agent inside the Gehlen Organization, a group of German intelligence officers that was being financed by the agency for covert operations and intelligence gathering inside Soviet-held territory. The C.I.A. brought the S.S. man to the United States in 1954. Following the revelation of the von Bolschwing affair, new evidence turned up concerning U.S. recruitment of still other former S.S. men, Nazis, and collaborators. According to army records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (F.O.I.A.), S.S. Obersturmführer Robert Verbelen admitted that he had once been sentenced to death in absentia for war crimes, including the torture of two U.S. Air Force pilots. And, he said, he had long served in Vienna as a contract spy for the U.S. Army, which was aware of his background. Other new information has been uncovered concerning Dr. Kurt Blome, who admitted in 1945 that he had been a leader of Nazi biological warfare research, a program known to have included experimentation on prisoners in concentration camps. Blome, however, was acquitted of crimes against humanity at a trial in 1947 and hired a few years later by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps to conduct a new round of biological weapons research. Then there is the business of Blome’s colleague Dr. Arthur Rudolph, who was accused in sworn testimony at Nuremburg of committing atrocities at the Nazis’ underground rocket works near Nordhausen but was later given U.S. citizenship and a major role in the U.S. missile program in spite of that record. Each of these instances—and there were others as well—casts substantial doubt on the Justice Department’s assertion that what happened to Barbie was an “exception…” The fact is, U.S. intelligence agencies did know—or had good reason to suspect—that many contract agents that they hired during the cold war had committed crimes against humanity on behalf of the Nazis.
  237. [From Guardian Weekly, 1992:] It is too easy to make a joke or draw too sweeping a conclusion about the antic aspect of what happened when the U.S. Navy Seals and Marines went ashore in Mogadishu last week. There they were in camouflage paint and combat gear, only to be greeted—and, it is said, temporarily blinded, not to say confounded and embarrassed—not by armed resistance but by the glare of T.V. lights and a swarming civilian press corps already arrived.
  238. [From New Left Review:] There were times when [U.S. troops] shot at everything that moved, took hostages, gunned their way through crowds of men and women, finished off any wounded who were showing signs of life. Many people died in their homes, their tin roofs ripped to shreds by high-velocity bullets and rockets. Accounts of the fighting frequently contain such statements as this: “One moment there was a crowd, and the next instant it was just a bleeding heap of dead and injured.” Even with a degree of restraint on the part of the gunners, the technology deployed by the U.S. Army was such that carnage was inevitable. One thing that the U.S. and U.N. never appreciated was that, as they escalated the level of murder and mayhem, they increased the determination of Somalis to resist and fight back. By the time of the 3 October battle, literally every inhabitant of large areas of Mogadishu considered the U.N. and U.S. as enemies, and were ready to take up arms against them. People who ten months before had welcomed the U.S. Marines with open arms were now ready to risk death to drive them out.
  239. [The New York Times reported] U.S. government estimates of “6,000 to 10,000 Somali casualties in four months last summer” [1993] alone—with “two-thirds” of these being women and children—as compared to 26 American soldiers killed.
  240. [From Newsday, 1990:] The [Bush I] administration has acknowledged Newsday reports that possible peace feelers were received from Iraqi officials offering to withdraw from Kuwait in return for the lifting of economic sanctions and other concessions, but they were dismissed as not serious. Asked why they were not pursued to test whether they were serious, the senior official said, “I don’t know.”
  241. In late December 1990, Iraq made another proposal, disclosed by U.S. officials on January 2, 1991: an offer “to withdraw from Kuwait if the United States pledges not to attack as soldiers are pulled out, if foreign troops leave the region, and if there is an agreement on the Palestinian problem and on the banning of all weapons of mass destruction in the region.” Officials described the offer as “interesting,” because it dropped the border issues and “signals Iraqi interest in a negotiated settlement.” A State Department Mideast expert described the proposal as a “serious prenegotiation position.” The Newsday report notes that the U.S. “immediately dismissed the proposal.”
  242. [From Newsday, 1991:] The U.S. Army division that broke through Saddam Hussein’s defensive frontline used plows mounted on tanks and combat earthmovers to bury thousands of Iraqi soldiers—some still alive and firing their weapons—in more than 70 miles of trenches, according to U.S. Army officials…The unprecedented tactic has been hidden from public view…Not a single American was killed during the attack that made an Iraqi body count impossible…Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Vulcan armored carriers straddled the trench lines and fired into the Iraqi soldiers as the tanks covered them with mounds of sand. “I came through right after the lead company,” [Col. Anthony] Moreno said. “What you saw was a bunch of buried trenches with peoples’ arms and things sticking out of them…” [General Norman] Schwarzkopf’s staff has privately estimated that, from air and ground attacks, between 50,000 and 75,000 Iraqis were killed in their trenches…Only one Iraqi tank round was fired at the attackers, Moreno said.
  243. [From The Fire This Time: U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf:] Iraq lost between 125,000 and 150,000 soldiers. The U.S. has said it lost 148 in combat, and of those, 37 were caused by friendly fire…The Pentagon reported that despite the 109,876 sorties flown during the entire war, only 38 aircraft were lost—a rate lower than the normal accident rate in combat training…The aerial assault continued until no targets remained that were worth the ordnance. Pilots reported a shortage of targets for days…Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Iraqi soldiers began walking toward the U.S. position unarmed, with their arms raised in an attempt to surrender. However, the orders for this unit were not to take any prisoners…The commander of the unit began the firing by shooting an anti-tank missile through one of the Iraqi soldiers. This is a missile designed to destroy tanks, but it was used against one man. At that point, everybody in the unit began shooting.
  244. [From Foreign Affairs, 1995:] Iraqis understood the legitimacy of a military action to drive their army from Kuwait, but they have had difficulty comprehending the Allied rationale for using air power to systematically destroy or cripple Iraqi infrastructure and industry: electric power stations (92 percent of installed capacity destroyed), refineries (80 percent of production capacity), petrochemical complexes, telecommunications centers (including 135 telephone networks), bridges (more than 100), roads, highways, railroads, hundreds of locomotives and boxcars full of goods, radio and television broadcasting stations, cement plants, and factories producing aluminum, textiles, cables, and medical supplies. The losses were estimated by the Arab Monetary Fund to be $190 billion.
  245. Chomsky remarks…: [The] first component [of the U.S.-led attack on Iraq on January 16, 1991] targeted the civilian infrastructure, including power, sewage, and water systems; that is, a form of biological warfare, having little relation to driving Iraq from Kuwait—rather, designed for long-term U.S. political ends. This too is not war, but state terrorism, on a colossal scale.
  246. [From Thomas Friedman of the New York Times:] The fact is that President Bush has been ambivalent about Mr. Hussein’s fate since the day the war ended. Mr. Bush inadvertently acknowledged the source of that ambivalence last week when he was asked whether he was disappointed about the lack of democratization in Kuwait. “The war wasn’t fought about democracy in Kuwait,” Mr. Bush bluntly retorted. The war was, instead, fought to restore the status quo. And, as every American policymaker knows, before Mr. Hussein invaded Kuwait he was a pillar of the gulf balance of power and status quo preferred by Washington. His iron fist simultaneously held Iraq together, much to the satisfaction of the American allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and it prevented Iranian Islamic fundamentalists from sweeping over the eastern Arab world. It was only when the Iraqi dictator decided to use his iron fist to dominate Kuwait and Saudi Arabia that he became a threat. But as soon as Mr. Hussein was forced back into his shell, Washington felt he had become useful again for maintaining the regional balance and preventing Iraq from disintegrating.
  247. [From Iraq Under Siege: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions and War:] In 1995 the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported that the military devastation of Iraq and the Security Council embargo had been responsible for the deaths of more than 560,000 children. The World Health Organization confirmed this figure and so, inadvertently, did the U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, when she was asked on the C.B.S. program 60 Minutes if the death of more than half a million children was a price worth paying. “We think the price is worth it,” she replied…Former U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq Denis Halliday has remarked that the death toll is “probably closer now to 600,000 and that’s over the period 1990-1998. If you include adult, it’s well over 1 million Iraqi people.”
  248. [From Foreign Affairs, 1995:] In November 1993, two years after Resolutions 706 and 712, Saddam Hussein decided in desperation to comply fully with the conditions set by the Security Council to lift the embargo…A commission headed by the Swedish diplomat Rolf Ekeus recognized that the Iraqis had cooperated fully…If the Security Council were to respect the commitment it had clearly made, the oil embargo would have been lifted immediately or, at most, after a probationary period set by the Security Council. Then the United States, backed by the United Kingdom, decided to “change the rules,” as a New York Times editorial of August 2, 1994, put it. The Clinton administration decided that sanctions would remain in place as long as Iraq did not implement all the U.N. resolutions, particularly those concerning respect for human rights and recognition of Kuwait’s sovereignty and borders. These new demands, however justifiable, did not appear in the sole U.N. text referring explicitly to the lifting of the oil embargo…In November 1994, under pressure from Russia and France, Iraq recognized the sovereignty and frontiers of Kuwait. As expected, the measure, conceived as a political concession to the United States, was not judged sufficient by Washington. The prevailing sense in Paris was that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to change the mind of the Clinton administration, whose determination to follow its own policy had been clear in recent months.
  249. Department of Defense, United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-67…: A fundamental source of danger we face in the Far East derives from Communist China’s rate of economic growth which will probably continue to outstrip that of free Asian countries, with the possible exception of Japan. In view of both the real and the psychological impact of Communist China’s growth and the major effort of the Soviet Union to gain influence in the less developed countries with aid and promises of quick progress under Communism, increased emphasis must be placed upon economic growth of the free Far East countries…The dramatic economic improvements realized by Communist China over the past ten years impress the nations of the region greatly and offer a serious challenge to the Free World…[The United States should do what it can] to avoid enhancing the prestige and power of Asian Communist regimes and…to retard, within the limits of our capabilities, the economic progress of these regimes.
  250. [From Pentagon Papers:] Chinese political and ideological aggressiveness…[are] a threat to the ability of these peoples [i.e. other Asian countries] to determine their own futures, and hence to develop along ways compatible with U.S. interests.
  251. [From Bread and the Ballot:] With hundreds of deaths due to starvation already documented, American officials generally acknowledged that India was experiencing the first stage of a very real famine. If the United States did not provide assistance, Indian officials estimated that ten to thirteen million of their countrymen would perish. The Truman administration was also aware that the United States Commodity Credit Corporation held approximately 319 million bushels of surplus wheat in reserve and that a 2-million-ton shipment to India would require only 75 million bushels. In short, India’s need was well known, the crisis was extraordinarily urgent, and the United States was in a strong position to help…On the one hand, George McGhee’s N.E.A. [Office of Near Eastern Affairs] eyed the political benefits to be reaped by a prompt and positive response…On the other hand, the Department of the Treasury and the Bureau of the Budget voiced reservations over the cost of assisting India…While Acheson [U.S. Secretary of State] and McGhee had not categorically made food aid contingent upon a reorientation of Indian policy, the linkages were obvious…By early April 1951, five months had passed since the Indian government had first asked for assistance. No reliable statistics exist on how many additional, famine-related deaths occurred during this period…During 1950 and 1951, as millions of Indians struggled each day to survive on as little as nine ounces of foodgrains, American policy makers sought to work India’s distress to America’s advantage.
  252. [Regarding the Oslo Agreements:] Article I, outlining the “Aim of the Negotitiations,” specifies that “the negotiations on the permanent status will lead to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338”; nothing further is mentioned. Note that this refers to the permanent status, the long-term end to be achieved. Furthermore…U.N. 242 is to be understood in the terms unilaterally imposed by the United States (from 1971), entailing only partial withdrawal [from the Occupied Territories], as Washington determines. In fact, the agreement does not even preclude further Israeli settlement in the large areas of the West Bank it has taken over, or even new land takeovers. On such central matters as control of water, it refers only to “cooperation in the management of water resources in the West Bank and Gaza Strip” and “equitable utilization of joint water resources” in a manner to be determined by “experts from both sides…” The outcome of cooperation between an elephant and a fly is not hard to predict.
  253. [From New York Times Magazine, 1993:] The trustees [which should be imposed to rule Third World countries] should not plan to withdraw until they are reasonably certain that the return to independence will be successful this time. So the mandate may last 50 years, or 100…Some states are not yet fit to govern themselves. Their continued existence, and the violence and human degradation they breed, is a threat to the stability of their neighbors as well as an affront to our consciences. There is a moral issue here: the civilized world has a mission to go out to these desperate places and govern…The already overburdened United States will have to take the major responsibility, though it can count on staunch support from Britain and, in this case, from France. Labor and expense will be needed, as well as brains, leadership and infinite patience. The only satisfaction will be the unspoken gratitude of millions of misgoverned or ungoverned people who will find in this altruistic revival of colonialism the only way out of their present intractable miseries.
  254. [From Wall Street Journal, 1993:] Our only realistic choice in Somalia and in all too many similar places is either to leave them to their misery or to re-establish something very much like colonialism…Colonialism is an act of generosity and idealism of which only rising civilizations are capable…Colonialism is about dictating political outcomes of which we can be proud.
  255. States are not moral agents; those who attribute to them ideals and principles merely mislead themselves and others.
  256. [From The Market Revolution:] Jefferson’s deathbed faith overcame deep misgivings…Men divide naturally into two parties, “aristocrats and democrats,” he wrote. On one side stood “those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes”; on the other stood “those who identify with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the honest & safe, altho’ not the most wise depository of the public interests…” He was alarmed by a Republican Congress “at a loss for objects whereon to throw away the supposed fathomless funds of the treasury.” Soon he would conclude that these younger National Republicans have “nothing in them of the feelings or principles of ’76.” They wanted a “single and splendid government of an aristocracy, founded on banking institutions, and moneyed incorporations,” he complained, through which the few would soon be “riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry.”
  257. [From Adam Smith and His Legacy for Modern Capitalism:] Smith [had a] genuine fear of institutions, as shown in his critique of the system of mercantilism, of monopolies, and of political or economic institutions that favor some individuals over others. Smith questions the existence of “joint stock companies” (corporations), except in exceptional circumstances, because the institutionalization of management power separated from ownership creates institutional management power cut loose from responsibility. Smith’s fear is that such institutions might become personified, so that one would regard them as real entities and hence treat them as incapable of being dismantled.
  258. [From The Wealth of Nations:] To establish a joint stock company, however, for any undertaking, merely because such a company might be capable of managing it successfully; or to exempt a particular set of dealers from some of the general laws which take place with regard to all their neighbors, merely because they might be capable of thriving if they had such an exemption, would certainly not be reasonable. To render such an establishment perfectly reasonable…it ought to appear with the clearest evidence, that the undertaking is of greater and more general utility than the greater part of common trades…The joint stock companies, which are established for the public-spirited purpose of promoting some particular manufacture, over and above managing their own affairs ill, to the diminution of the general stock of the society, can in other respects scarce ever fail to do more harm than good. Notwithstanding the most upright intentions, the unavoidable partiality of their directors to particular branches of the manufacture, of which the undertakers mislead and impose upon them, is a real discouragement to the rest, and necessarily breaks, more or less, that natural proportion which would otherwise establish itself between judicious industry and profit, and which, to the general industry of the country, is of all encouragements the greatest and the most effectual.
  259. [From The War on Labor and the Left: Understanding America’s Unique Conservatism:] Labor everywhere has “war stories” to tell, but nowhere has the record been as violent as in the United States…One review of some major U.S. strikes puts the figure at 700 dead and untold thousands seriously injured in labor disputes, but these figures, though impressive, include only strike casualties reported in newspapers between 1877 and 1968; and may therefore grossly underestimate the total casualties. (During the 1877-1968 period, state and federal troops intervened in labor disputes more than 160 times, almost invariably on behalf of employers.) In the seven years from 1890 to 1897, an estimated 198 people were killed and 1,966 injured. These casualties were overwhelmingly strikers killed or injured in some major strikes and lockouts…After the adoption of some protective legislation, between 1947 and 1962, violence and militia intervention declined, but an estimated 29 people were killed in major strikes during the period, 20 of them in the South. By contrast, only 1 person in Britain has been killed in a strike since 1911.
  260. [From West Indian Workers and the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica, 1870-1940:] [The United Fruit] company claimed in its propaganda that its role was to instill consumer values among its workers…In 1929, Crowther, another United Fruit biographer, explicitly explained the importance of the spread of a consumer mentality as he waxed eloquent on the virtues of capitalism and bemoaned the immoral effects of a subsistence economy: “The mozos or working people [in Central America] have labored only when forced to and that was not often, for the land would give them what little they needed.” But this could be changed, he explained, by infusing these laborers with the desire for upward mobility. “The desire for goods, it may be remarked, is something that has to be cultivated. In the United States this desire has been cultivated”…American movies, radio, and especially magazines were everywhere, and “our advertising is slowly having the same effect as in the United States—and it is reaching the mozos. For when a periodical is discarded, it is grabbed up, and its advertising pages turn up as wall paper in the thatched huts. I have seen the insides of huts completely covered with American magazine pages…All of this is having its effect in awakening desires.”
  261. [From The United States Occupation of Haiti:] The problem of introducing American pragmatism and efficiency involved confrontation with basic Haitian values and ambitions regarding work and material rewards for work…Financial Adviser Arthur C. Millspaugh stated: “The peasants, living lives which to us seem indolent and shiftless, are enviably carefree and contented; but, if they are to be citizens of an independent self-governing nation, they must acquire, or at least a larger number of them must acquire, a new set of wants.”
  262. [From a Chomsky letter to the Los Angeles Times:] Dershowitz’s second charge is his rendition of my carefully qualified statement that denial of the existence of gas chambers is not, per se, proof of anti-Semitism; and more generally, that we cannot automatically deduce racist intent from denial or minimization of atrocities, whatever the scale, for example, denial of U.S. atrocities in Indochina, Dershowitz’s apologetics for torture and repression in Israel, the denial by scholars of the Armenian genocide and the slaughter of millions of Native Americans, the serious underestimate of Pol Pot’s killings by the C.I.A., etc. Racism is too important a phenomenon to be cheapened by exploitation as a political weapon.
  263. [From The Wealth of Nations:] The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects too are, perhaps, always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding, or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become. The torpor of his mind renders him, not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of private life…His dexterity at his own particular trade seems, in this manner, to be acquired at the expense of his intellectual, social, and martial values. But in every improved and civilized society this is the state into which the laboring poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily fail, unless government takes some pains to prevent it.
  264. [From Humboldt’s The Limits of State Action:] But, still, freedom is undoubtedly the indispensable condition, without which even the pursuits most congenial to individual human nature, can never succeed in producing such salutary influences. Whatever does not spring from a man’s free choice, or is only the result of instruction and guidance, does not enter into his very being, but remains alien to his true nature; he does not perform it with truly human energies, but merely with mechanical exactness.
  265. [From Tocqueville’s Democracy in America:] When a workman is unceasingly and exclusively engaged in the fabrication of one thing, he ultimately does his work with singular dexterity; but at the same time he loses the general faculty of applying his mind to the direction of the work. He every day becomes more adroit and less industrious; so that it may be said of him that in proportion as the workman improves, the man is degraded…The art advances, the artisan recedes…I am of opinion, on the whole, that the manufacturing aristocracy which is growing up under our eyes is one of the harshest that ever existed in the world…The friends of democracy should keep their eyes anxiously fixed in this direction.
  266. [From The Bolsheviks and Workers’ Control, 1917 to 1921:] Nowhere in Lenin’s writings is workers’ control ever equated with fundamental decision-taking (i.e. with the initiation of decisions) relating to production.
  267. [From “Soviets and Factory Committees in the Russian Revolution”:] By October [1917]…councils of factory committees existed in many parts of Russia…Conferences of local factory committees in Petrograd and Moscow in late September and early October reaffirmed the necessity of proceeding with their role in production –managing the entire production process—and in developing better methods of coordination…The Bolsheviks, seeking to strengthen their position, realized that they had to destroy the factory committees. They now had available to them the means to do so—something which the Provisional Government had lacked. By controlling the soviets, the Bolsheviks controlled the troops. Their domination of the regional and national councils of the factory committees gave them the power to isolate and destroy any factory committee, e.g., by denying it raw materials. Lenin wasted little time in trying to take control of the situation. On November 3, he published his “Draft Decree on Workers’ Control” in Pravda, stating that “the decisions of the elected delegates of the workers and employees are legally binding upon the owners of enterprises,” but that they could be “annulled by trade unions and congresses.” Moreover, “in all enterprises of state importance” all delegates elected to exercise workers’ control were to be “answerable to the State for the maintenance of the strictest order and discipline and for the protection of property…”
  268. [From Bakunin on Anarchy: Selected Works by the Activist-Founder of World Anarchism:] [The Marxists] insist that only dictatorship (of course their own) can create freedom for the people…According to Mr. Marx, the people not only should not abolish the State, but, on the contrary, they must strengthen and enlarge it, and turn it over to the full disposition of their benefactors, guardians, and teachers—the leaders of the Communist party, meaning Mr. Marx and his friends—who will then liberate them in their own way. They will concentrate all administrative power in their own strong hands, because the ignorant people are in need of a strong guardianship…There will be slavery within this state…which will be even more despotic than the former State, although it calls itself a People’s State…It will be the reign of scientific intelligence, the most aristocratic, despotic, arrogant and elitist of all regimes. There will be a new class, a new hierarchy of real and counterfeit scientists and scholars, and the world will be divided into a minority ruling in the name of knowledge, and an immense ignorant majority. And then, woe unto the mass of ignorant ones!…No state, however democratic—not even the reddest republic—can ever give the people what they really want, i.e., the free self-organization and administration of their own affairs from the bottom upward, without any interference or violence from above, because every state, even the pseudo-People’s State concocted by Mr. Marx, is in essence only a machine ruling the masses from above, through a privileged minority of conceited intellectuals, who imagine that they know what the people need and want better than do the people themselves…The State has always been the patrimony of some privileged class: a priestly class, an aristocratic class, a bourgeois class. And finally, when all the other classes have exhausted themselves, the State then becomes the patrimony of the bureaucratic class and then falls—or, if you will, rises—to the position of a machine. But in any case it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of the State that there should be some privileged class devoted to its preservation. But in the People’s State of Marx there will be, we are told, no privileged class at all. All will be equal, not only from the juridical and political point of view but also from the economic point of view. At least this is what is promised, though I very much doubt whether that promise could ever be kept. There will therefore no longer be any privileged class, but there will be a government and, note this well, an extremely complex government. This government will not content itself with administering and governing the masses politically, as all governments do today. It will also administer the masses economically, concentrating in the hands of the State the production and division of wealth, the cultivation of land, the establishment and development of factories, the organization and direction of commerce, and finally, the application of capital to production by the only banker—the State. All that will demand an immense knowledge and many heads “overflowing with brains” in this government.
  269. [From The Irish Economy in a Comparative Institutional Perspective:] Ireland’s demographic experience is unique. Its population in 1910 was only 54 per cent of the population of the 1840s…The number of excess deaths due to the famine amounted at least to 1.1 million. There was no absolute shortage of food, but unemployment and lack of access to sufficient land among the rural poor, together with the vulnerability that stemmed from their specialization in potatoes, gave rise to the catastrophe…Ireland was a part of Britain, fully exposed to free trade and with no choice of choosing its own economic policies with reference to an independent constitution.
  270. [From Selling Free Enterprise: The Business Assault on Labor and Liberalism:] The business community’s interest in education can be traced back to the origins of the public school system in the early nineteenth century. Faced with the tensions resulting from industrialization, urbanization, and immigration, business and professional classes supported the common school movement as a means of socializing workers for the factory, and as a way of promoting social and political stability. But, by the turn of the century, inculcating the general business values of hard work, industriousness, and punctuality was not enough. Progressive-era reforms, such as at-large school elections, shifted control over education from local politicians with allegiances to their working-class constituencies to elites, almost guaranteeing “that school boards would represent the views and values of the financial, business, and professional communities.” Business leaders encouraged schools to adopt a corporate model of organization and called for the education system to more explicitly prepare workers for the labor market through testing, vocational guidance, and vocational education.
  271. [From The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure:] Employers found the first generation of industrial workers almost impossible to discipline. Attendance was irregular, and turnover high. Tolerance for the mindlessness and monotony of factory work was low. “The highlander, it was said, ‘never sits at ease at a loom; it is like putting a deer in the plough.’” Employers devised various schemes to instill obedience. They posted supervisors, levied fines, and fired their workers. Beatings were common, especially among slaves and child laborers. One early factory owner explained: “I prefer fining to beating, if it answers…[but] fining does not answer. It does not keep the boys at their work.” Many employers and social reformers became convinced that the adult population was irredeemably unfit for factory work. They looked to children, hoping that “the elementary school could be used to break the laboring classes into those habits of work discipline now necessary for factory production…Putting little children to work at school for very long hours at very dull subjects was seen as a positive virtue, for it made them ‘habituated, not to say naturalized, to labor and fatigue.’”
  272. [From The Social Ideas of American Educators:] [As the social reformer Jane Addams stated in 1897:] “The business man has, of course, not said to himself: ‘I will have the public school train office boys and clerks for me, so that I may have them cheap,’ but he has thought, and sometimes said, ‘Teach the children to write legibly, and to figure accurately and quickly; to acquire habits of punctuality and order; to be prompt to obey, and not question why; and you will fit them to make their way in the world as I have made mine!’”
  273. [From Dollars and Sense, 1991:] In the long run, there are no laissez-faire transitions to modern economic growth. The state has always intervened to create a capitalist class, and then it has to regulate the capitalist class, and then the state has to worry about being taken over by the capitalist class, but the state has always been there. This is what the N.I.C.s [Newly Industrializing Countries] show…Import substitution [through state intervention] is about the only way anybody’s ever figured out to industrialize. Increasingly often, the industries that were created by import substitution turn out to be viable…What the extreme deregulators will tell you is that you don’t have to go through this stage, but they don’t have any cases [to support their claim].
  274. [Herman Daly:] “My major concern about [the economics] profession today is that our disciplinary preference for logically beautiful results over factually grounded policies has reached such fanatical proportions that we economists have become dangerous to the earth and its inhabitants.”
  275. [From Economics and World History: Myths and Paradoxes:] It is difficult to find another case where the facts so contradict a dominant theory than the one concerning the negative impact of protectionism; at least as far as nineteenth-century world economic history is concerned. In all cases protectionism led to, or at least was concomitant with, industrialization and economic development…There is no doubt that the Third World’s compulsory economic liberalism in the nineteenth century is a major element in explaining the delay in its industrialization.
  276. [From Financial Times (London):] A World Bank survey of non-tariff barriers showed that they covered 9 per cent of all goods in Japan—compared with 34 per cent in the U.S.—figures reinforced by David Henderson of the O.E.C.D. [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development], who stated that during the 1980s the U.S. had the worst record for devising new non-tariff barriers…The free-market image of the U.S. and the rhetoric of its leaders rarely match the facts, while the interventionism and protectionism of Germany and Japan are habitually exaggerated by politicians and industrialists for self-serving reasons.
  277. [From The Logic of International Restructuring:] We assess that at least twenty corporations in the 1993 Fortune 100 would not have survived at all as independent companies, if they had not been saved by their respective governments…Virtually all of the world’s largest core firms have experienced a decisive influence from government policies and/or trade barriers on their strategy and competitive position…Government intervention has been the rule rather than the exception over the past two centuries. This intervention has taken the shape of all kinds of trade and industrial policies, and of a weak enforcement of competition or anti-trust regulations…Government intervention has played a key role in the development and diffusion of many product and process innovations—particularly in aerospace, electronics, modern agriculture, materials technologies, energy and transportation technology…Government policies, in particular defense programs, have been an overwhelming force in shaping the strategies and competitiveness of the world’s largest firms.
  278. [From a 1988 Department of Commerce study:] Five of the top six fastest growing U.S. industries from 1972 to 1988 were sponsored or sustained, directly or indirectly, by federal investment, the only exception being lithograph services. The winners [in earlier years]—computers, biotechnology, jet engines, and airframes—were each the byproduct of public spending for national defense and public health.
  279. [From American Ground Transport: A Proposal for Restructuring the Automobile, Truck, Bus, and Rail Industries, 1974:] G.M. has both the power and the economic incentive to maximize profits by suppressing rail and bus transportation. The economics are obvious: one bus can eliminate 35 automobiles; one streetcar, subway or rail transit vehicle can supplant 50 passenger cars; one train can displace 1,000 cars or a fleet of 150 cargo-laden trucks. The result was inevitable: a drive by G.M. to sell cars and trucks by displacing rail and bus systems. This section [of the report] describes that process. It discloses, for example, G.M.’s role in the destruction of more than 100 electric surface rail systems in 45 cities including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, St. Louis, Oakland, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. More specifically, it describes the devastating impact of this wide-scale operation on the quality of life in America’s cities…General Motors’ common control of auto, truck, and locomotive production may have contributed to the decline of America’s railroads. Beginning in the mid-1930s, this firm used its leverage as the Nation’s largest shipper of freight to coerce railroads into scrapping their equipment, including pollution-free electric locomotives, in favor of more expensive, less durable, and less efficient G.M. diesel units. As a consequence, dieselization seriously impaired the ability of railroads to compete with the cars and trucks G.M. was fundamentally interested in selling…As G.M. General Counsel Henry Hogan would observe later, the corporation “decided that the only way this new market for (city) buses could be created was for it to finance the conversion from streetcars to buses in some small cities.” On June 29, 1932, the G.M.-bus executive committee formally resolved that “to develop motorized transportation, our company should initiate a program of this nature and authorize the incorporation of a holding company with a capital of $300,000.” Thus was formed United Cities Motor Transit (U.C.M.T.) as a subsidiary of G.M.’s bus division. Its sole function was to acquire electric streetcar companies, convert them to G.M. motorbus operations, and then resell the properties to local concerns which agreed to purchase G.M. bus replacements. The electric streetcar lines of Kalamazoo and Saginaw, Mich., and Springfield, Ohio, were U.C.M.T.’s first targets…During the following 14 years General Motors, together with Standard Oil of California, Firestone Tire, and two other suppliers of bus-related products, contributed more than $9 million to this holding company [National City Lines] for the purpose of converting electric transit systems in 16 States to G.M. bus operations…To preclude the return of electric vehicles to the dozens of cities it motorized, G.M. extracted from the local transit companies contracts which prohibited their purchase of “…any new equipment using any fuel or means of propulsion other than gas.” The National City Lines campaign had a devastating impact on the quality of urban transportation and urban living in America. Nowhere was the ruin more apparent than in the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. Thirty-five years ago it was a beautiful region of lush palm trees, fragrant orange groves, and clean, ocean-enriched air. It was served then by the world’s largest interurban electric railway system. The Pacific Electric system branched out from Los Angeles for a radius of more than 75 miles reaching north to San Fernando, east to San Bernardino, and south to Santa Ana. Its 3,000 quiet, pollution-free, electric trains annually transported 80 million people throughout the sprawling region’s 56 incorporated cities. Contrary to popular belief, the Pacific Electric, not the automobile, was responsible for the area’s geographical development. First constructed in 1911, it established traditions of suburban living long before the automobile had arrived…Today, Los Angeles is an ecological wasteland: The palm trees are dying from petrochemical smog; the orange groves have been paved over by 300 miles of freeways; the air is a septic tank into which 4 million cars, half of them built by General Motors, pump 13,000 tons of pollutants daily. With the destruction of the efficient Pacific Electric rail system, Los Angeles may have lost its best hope for rapid rail transit and a smog-free metropolitan area…Despite its criminal conviction, General Motors continued to acquire and dieselize electric transit properties through September of 1955. By then, approximately 88 percent of the nation’s electric streetcar network had been eliminated. In 1936, when G.M. organized National City Lines, 40,000 streetcars were operating in the United States; at the end of 1955, only 5,000 remained.
  280. [From A Quiet Violence: View from a Bangladesh Village:] Six hundred years ago the Moroccan adventurer Ibn Battuta, whose travels took him to Persia, China, Sumatra and Timbuktu, recorded these impressions of Bengal: “This is a country of great extent, and one in which rice is extremely abundant. Indeed, I have seen no region of the earth in which provisions are so plentiful.” Today Bangladesh is a land of hunger. The relics of its impoverished people are housed in a small, unpretentious museum in Dhaka. In a glass display case there is a pale turban, a specimen of the famous Dhaka muslin once prized in the imperial courts of Europe and Asia. Thirty feet long and three feet wide, the turban is so fine that it can be folded to fit inside a matchbox. The weavers of Dhaka once produced this cloth on their handlooms, using thread spun from the cotton which grew along the banks of the nearby Mehgna River. Today both the cotton and the weavers have disappeared…After the British East India Company wrested control of Bengal from its Muslim rulers in 1757, the line between trade and outright plunder faded…Ironically, the profits from the lucrative trade in Bengali textiles helped to finance Britain’s industrial revolution. As their own mechanized textile industry developed, the British eliminated competition from Bengali textiles through an elaborate network of restrictions and prohibitive duties. Not only were Indian textiles effectively shut out of the British market, but even within India, taxes discriminated against local cloth…The decimation of local industry brought great hardship to the Bengali people.
  281. [From Economic Liberalism and Underdevelopment:] Digby [author of the 1902 study Prosperous British India] argued that “before the stream of loot began to flow to England, the industries of our country were at a low level. Lancashire spinning and weaving were on a par with the corresponding industry in India so far as machinery was concerned; but the skill which had made Indian cottons a marvel of manufacture was wholly wanting in any of the Western nations…” Nor was India backward in the field of naval construction. Her ships roamed the seven seas, and even as late as 1802 British warships were built by India and England borrowed blueprints from Indian builders…After supplying statistical data of Indian textile exports to Great Britain, [Montgomery Martin] pointed out that between 1815-1832 prohibitive duties ranging from 10 to 20, 30, 50, 100 and 1,000 per cent were levied on articles from India… “Had this not been the case,” wrote Horace Wilson in his 1826 History of British India, “the mills of Paisley and Manchester would have been stopped in their outset, and could scarcely have been again set in motion, even by the power of steam. They were created by the sacrifice of Indian manufacturers.”
  282. [From The Discovery of India:] With the development in industrial techniques in England a new class of industrial capitalists rose there demanding a change in this policy. The British market was to be closed to Indian products and the Indian market opened to British manufactures…In every progressive country there has been, during the past century, a shift of population from agriculture to industry; from village to town; in India this process was reversed, as a result of British policy.
  283. [From Last Reflections on a War:] When British general Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown to the combined French and American forces…his aide, General O’Hara, made a slight (and, perhaps, intentional) error in etiquette as he tried to surrender his commander’s sword to French general Rochambeau rather than to one of the American generals present…Count Rochambeau…turned down the honor, and the sword was finally handed to General Benjamin Lincoln, who had been defeated by the British at Charleston, S.C., three years earlier…Shorn of almost two centuries of 4th-of-July oratory, [the American Revolutionary War] was a military operation fought by a very small armed minority—at almost no time did Washington’s forces exceed 8,000 men in a country which had at least 300,000 able-bodied males—and backed by a force of 31,897 French ground troops and 12,660 sailors and Marines manning sixty-one major vessels. The total cost of the campaign to the French (almost $2 billion) drove the French monarchy into bankruptcy and subsequent revolution. But politically, the French had achieved exactly what they had intended to do: they had temporarily shattered Britain’s position of pre-eminence not only in America but in Europe as well.
  284. President Tyler wrote: The monopoly of the cotton plant was the great and important concern. That monopoly, now secured, places all other nations at our feet. An embargo of a single year would produce in Europe a greater amount of suffering than a fifty years’ war. I doubt whether Great Britain could avoid convulsions.
  285. [From Progress Without People:] In metalworking manufacture, direct labor amounts to roughly 10 percent of total cost, as compared to materials at 55 percent and overhead another 35 percent. Yet, as of 1982, management was expending roughly 75 percent of managerial and engineering effort on labor costs reduction and 10 percent on overhead cost reduction. This is a striking disparity.
  286. [From 1977 New York Times article:] Asked if, assuming resolution of the issue of U.S. soldiers “Missing In Action” in Vietnam, the United States has a moral obligation to help rebuild that country, President Jimmy Carter assured that we owe Vietnam no debt and have no responsibility to render it any assistance, because “the destruction was mutual.”
  287. [From The Politics of Law: A Progressive Critique:] Although there were over two thousand prosecutions…none of the Espionage Act convictions was reversed by the Supreme Court on First Amendment grounds…[As Harvard law professor Zechariah Chafee concluded after a detailed examination of these prosecutions,] “the courts treated opinions as statements of fact and then condemned them as false because they differed from the President’s speech or the resolution of Congress declaring war…It became criminal to advocate heavier taxation instead of bond issues, to state that conscription was unconstitutional…to urge that a referendum should have preceded our declaration of war, to say that war was contrary to the teachings of Christianity. Men have been punished for criticizing the Red Cross and the Y.M.C.A.”
  288. [From a 1997 Multinational Monitor article:] In more than one in 10 cases, according to organizers, employers directly threatened to move to Mexico if the workers voted to unionize. According to the organizers, specific unambiguous threats ranged from attaching shipping labels to equipment throughout the plant with a Mexican address, to posting maps of North America with an arrow pointing from the current plant site to Mexico, to a letter directly stating the company will have to shut down if the union wins the election. In March 1995, I.T.T. Automotive in Michigan parked 13 flat-bed tractor-trailers loaded with shrink-wrapped production equipment in front of the plant for the duration of a U.A.W. organizing campaign. The company posted large hot-pink signs…on the side which read “Mexico Transfer Job”…In one campaign in the Texas Rio Grande Valley, Fruit of the Loom posted yard signs in the community that said, “Keep jobs in the Valley. Vote No.” The company also hung a banner across the plant that warned, “Wear the Union Label. Unemployed.”
  289. [From a Guardian article:] [The protestors’] central target is the “intellectual property rights” awarded to companies by the new Gatt rules, which threaten to stop them trading seeds among themselves…Hybrid seeds sold by companies are sterile, cannot be resown afer the first harvest and must therefore be repurchased every year…But non-hybrids can be replanted and farmers say their time-honored methods of trading such seeds after each harvest are now under threat. Under the new Gatt rules, companies can sue farmers for selling seeds from their own fields when these are claimed as derivatives of protected seeds. Astonishingly, the rules place the onus of proof in case of dispute on the farmers, a provision going against normal rules of justice which has caused particular anger. Such seeds are not primitive, the farmers insist. They represent centuries of improvement and adaptation to local conditions and have been developed for mixed, sustainable agriculture.
  290. [From Anthropology Today:] The annual world market value for medicines derived from medicinal plants discovered from indigenous peoples is U.S. $43 billion. Estimated sales for 1989 from three major natural products in the U.S. alone was: digitalis, U.S. $85 million; Resperine, U.S. $42 million; Pilocarpine, U.S. $28 million…Unfortunately, less than 0.001 percent of the profits from drugs that originated from traditional medicine have ever gone to the indigenous people who led researchers to them.
  291. According to the United Nations’ 1993 World Investment Report, intrafirm trade is “estimated at over 50 percent of the international trade of both the United States and Japan and 80 percent of British manufactured exports.”
  292. [From a Christian Science Monitor article:] In recent months, newspapers have carried numerous reports of abuses against Chinese workers, who were beaten for producing poor quality goods, fired for dozing on the job during long work hours, fined for chewing gum, locked up in a doghouse for stealing, and who went on strike to protest low pay…More than 11,000 workers were killed in [the first eight months of 1993 alone].
  293. [From “A.F.L.-C.I.O. President [Lane Kirkland] Comments On Tragic Fire in Thai Toy Factory,” 1993:] The Kader factory [in Thailand where a fire killed 340 young Thai workers] was a direct supplier to more than a dozen U.S. companies, including Tyco, Fisher Price, Hasbro, Gund and J.C. Penny. More than 20 other U.S. companies, including Toys “R” Us and Wal-Mart, purchase goods made in other Kader factories in Thailand. These American companies cannot deny knowledge or responsibility for the abysmal working conditions in the factories that produce the goods. Indeed these conditions are the reason they located production in Thailand in the first place. They can literally work people to death. American business executives call this “staying competitive in the world economy.”
  294. [From a Nation article, 1994:] Kissinger gave orders that he wanted “to stop arms shipments [to Indonesia during the East Timor genocide] quietly,” but that they were to “start again” the following month. In fact, as the genocide unfolded, U.S. arms shipments doubled. In 1975 C. Philip Liechty was a C.I.A. operations officer in the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta. We met in Washington last November. “Suharto was given the green light [by the U.S.] to do what he did,” Liechty told me. “There was discussion in the embassy and in traffic with the State Department about the problems that would be created for us if the public and Congress became aware of the level and type of military assistance that was going to Indonesia at the time.”
  295. [From Indonesia’s Forgotten War: The Hidden History of East Timor:] Indonesia’s own Foreign Minister, Adam Malik, acknowledged that “fifty thousand people or perhaps 80,000 might have been killed during the war in East Timor”—an admission which still represents the killing of about ten percent of the population.
  296. [From A Dangerous Place, by Patrick Moynihan, U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia:] In both instances [the Moroccan invasion of Spanish Sahara and the Indonesian invasion of East Timor], the United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.
  297. [From Documents on Australian Defense and Foreign Policy, 1968-1975, a collection of leaked Australian diplomatic records:] We are all aware of the Australian defense interest in the Portuguese Timor situation but I wonder whether the Department has ascertained the interest of the Minister or the Department of Minerals and Energy in the Timor situation…The present gap in the agreed sea border…could be much more readily negotiated with Indonesia…than with Portugal or an independent Portuguese Timor. I know I am recommending a pragmatic rather than a principled stand but that is what national interest and foreign policy is about.
  298. [From Central America Report, 1991:] [U.S. journalist Allan] Nairn insists that Harvard must have known about [Guatemalan general] Gramajo’s record before they offered him a scholarship: “Harvard as an institution would have to know exactly who he is…If they can read, they will know that they awarded their Mason Fellowship to one of the most significant mass-murderers in the Western Hemisphere…” Members of the armed forces who served under Gramajo’s command admitted that his orders to them were to “identify and assassinate” civilians, and to give the message that “if you’re with us, we’ll feed you, if you’re not, we’ll kill you.”
  299. [From the Economist:] As defense minister, [Gramajo] put down two coups before going last year to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where he explained his doctrinal innovations to the Harvard International Review: “We have created a more humanitarian, less costly strategy, to be more compatible with the democratic system. We instituted civil affairs [in 1982] which provides development for 70% of the population, while we kill 30%. Before, the strategy was to kill 100%.”…[later in the Washington Post] “If we were chocolate makers, we’d be making chocolate.” He added, “The effort of the government was to be 70 percent in development and 30 percent in the war effort. I was not referring to the people, just the effort.”
  300. [From New Statesman & Society (U.K.):] Within two months of the Dili massacre [on East Timor]…the Australian government oversaw the awarding of 11 contracts [to exploit Timorese oil] under the Timor Gap treaty. Signed in 1989 by [Australian Foreign Minister Gareth] Evans and his Indonesian counterpart, Ali Alatas, flying over the mass graves of East Timor and toasting each other in champagne, the treaty allows Australians and other foreign companies to exploit the gas and oil reserves off East Timor which, says Evans, could bring in “zillions” of dollars.
  301. [From the New York Times:] The World Health Organization and the United Nations General Assembly had asked the [International Court of Justice] for an advisory opinion on whether international law permits the threat or use of nuclear weapons…Among the nuclear powers, the United States, France and Russia urged the court to reject the request, saying nuclear weapons were vital for global security.
  302. [From Korea: The Unknown War:] The U.S.A. initially chose five dams near Pyongyang that supplied water for the irrigation system of the area that produced three-quarters of the country’s rice…The last time an act of this kind had been carried out, which was by the Nazis in Holland in 1944, it had been deemed a war crime at Nuremburg.
  303. [From The United States Air Force in Korea, 1950-53, Office of Air Force History:] In order to test the feasibility of the endeavor and develop attack techniques, General Weyland directed the Fifth Air Force to breach the Toksan dam…On 13 May [1953] four waves of 59 Thunderjets of the 58th Wing attacked the 2,300-foot earth-and-stone dam… “The damage done by the deluge,” reported the Fifth Air Force, “far exceeded the hopes of everyone.”…The floodwaters also scoured five square miles of prime rice crops. “The breaching of the Toksan dam,” General Clark jubilantly informed the Joint Chiefs, “has been as effective as weeks of rail interdiction.”…At the end of the Korean fighting General Weyland remarked that two particular fighter-bomber strikes stood out “as spectacular on their own merit.” One was the hydroelectric attack of June 1952, and the other—“perhaps the most spectacular of the war”—was the destruction on the Toksan and Chasan irrigation dams in May 1953…To the average Oriental, moreover, an empty rice bowl symbolizes starvation, and vitriolic Red propaganda broadcasts which followed the destruction of the irrigation dams showed that the enemy was deeply impressed.
  304. [From Air University Quarterly Review:] These [dike-bombing] strikes…sent the Communist military leaders and political commissars scurrying to their press and radio centers to blare to the world the most severe, hate-filled harangues to come from the Communist propaganda mill in the three years of warfare…To the U.N. Command the breaking of the irrigation dams meant disruption of the enemy’s lines of communication and supply. But to the Communists the smashing of the dams meant primarily the destruction of their chief sustenance—rice. The Westerner can little conceive the awesome meaning which the loss of this stable food commodity has for the Asian—starvation and slow death. “Rice famine,” for centuries the chronic scourge of the Orient, is more feared than the deadliest plague. Hence the show of rage, the flare of violent tempers, and the avowed threats of reprisals when bombs fell on five irrigation dams…[The enemy] could stand the loss of industry, so long as the loss was offset by procurement from Manchuria and Soviet Russia. He could sustain great loss of human life, for life is plentiful and apparently cheap in the Orient. But the extensive destruction and flood damage in his two main rail lines into Pyongang was a critical blow to his transport capabilities…[and] the impact was further compounded by the coincidental flood damage to large areas of agricultural lands, which seriously threatened his basic source of military food supply.
  305. [From Korea: The Unknown War:] After the war started, [General Curtis LeMay] said: “We slipped a note kind of under the door into the Pentagon and said, ‘Look, let us go up there…and burn down five of the biggest towns in North Korea—and they’re not very big—and that ought to stop it.’ Well, the answer to that was four or five screams—‘You’ll kill a lot of non-combatants,’ and ‘It’s too horrible.’ Yet over a period of three years or so…we burned down every (sic) town in North Korea and South Korea, too…” The U.S.A. had complete control of the air: everyone and everything that moved was subjected to constant bombing and strafing. People could move only at night, which was also the only time when repairs could be carried out to bridges, railways and roads—all made far more dangerous by delayed action bombs…By 1952 just about everything in North and central Korea was completely levelled.
  306. [From Korea: The Unknown War, regarding treatment of enemy prisoners:] James Cameron of London’s Picture Post .. “There were hundreds of them; they were skeletal, puppets of string, faces translucent grey, manacled to each other with chains, cringing in the classic Oriental attitude of subjection, the squatting foetal position, in piles of garbage…Around this medievally gruesome marketplace were gathered a few knots of American soldiers photographing the scene with casual industry…I took no indignation to the [U.N.] Commission, who said very civilly: ‘Most disturbing, yes; but remember these are Asian people, with different standards of behavior…all very difficult.’ It was supine and indefensible compromise.”
  307. [From Korea: The Unknown War:] There was little evidence of Soviet or North Korean support for the Southern guerillas…No Soviet weapons had even been authenticated in South Korea except near the parallel; most guerillas had Japanese and American arms. Another [U.S.] report found that the guerillas “apparently receive little more than moral support from North Korea.” The principal source of external involvement in the guerilla war was, in fact, American.
  308. [From The Origins of the Korean War:] Immediately after liberation [from Japan in 1945], within a three-month period…open fighting [began which] eventually claimed more than one hundred thousand lives…all this before the ostensible Korean War began. In other words, the conflict was civil and revolutionary in character, beginning just after 1945 and proceeding through a dialectic of revolution and reaction. The opening of conventional battles in June 1950 only continued this war by other means…The American Occupation made a series of critical decisions: it revived the Government-General bureaucracy and its Korean personnel; it revived the Japanese national police system and its Korean element; it inaugurated national defense forces for south Korea alone; and it moved toward a separate southern administration.
  309. [From Christian Science Monitor]: Still, last year Lockheed distributed a brochure on Capital Hill touting the need for the F-22 by highlighting the looming danger posed by the spread of advanced fighter-planes like the F-16 to foreign countries. As an official who helped produce the brochure says, “We’ve sold the F-16 all over the world; what if [a friend or ally] turns against us?”
  310. [From Jerusalem Post:] “The economy of the West Bank may be characterized as undeveloped, non-viable, stagnant and dependent. It is an auxiliary sector of both the Israeli and Jordanian economies,” Benvenisti [the Former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem] concludes. Twenty-five percent of Israeli exports are sold via the West Bank, which is something of a captive market and the largest single market for Israeli manufactured goods. The industrial basis of the area is undeveloped since there is no capital investment, no governmental investment in industrial infrastructure, no credit facilities or capital market, no protection from the import of Israeli goods, there are restrictions on exports to Jordan, and restrictions on the import of equipment and raw materials.
  311. [From Middle East International:] In both 1993 and 1994, the U.S.—for the first time—voted against all U.N. General Assembly resolutions pertaining to Palestinian refugees.
  312. James Madison argued: “In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The Senate, therefore, ought to be this body.
  313. James Madison, again: An obvious and permanent division of every people is into owners of the Soil, and the other inhabitants. In a certain sense, the Country may be said to belong to the former…Whatever may be the rights of others derived from their birth in the Country, from their interest in the high ways & other parcels left open for common use as well, as in the national Edifices and monuments; from their share in the public defence, and from their concurrent support of the Govt., it would see unreasonable to extend the right so far as to give them when become the majority, a power of Legislation over the landed property without the consent of the proprietors.
  314. From a James Madison speech: In framing a system which we wish to last for ages, we shd. not lose sight of the changes which ages will produce. An increase of population will of necessity increase the proportion of those who will labor under all the hardships of life, & secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings. These may in time outnumber those who are placed above the feelings of indigence. According to the laws of equal suffrage, the power will slide into the hands of the former. No agrarian attempts have yet been made in this Country, but symptoms of a leveling spirit, as we have understood, have sufficiently appeared in a certain quarters (sic) to give warning of the future danger…That proportion being without property, or the hope of acquiring it, cannot be expected to sympathize sufficiently with its rights, to be safe depositories of power over them.
  315. Madison in 1792, after Hamiltonian capitalist developments: My imagination will not attempt to set bounds to the daring depravity of the times. The stock-jobbers will become the pretorian band of the Government, at once its tool and its tyrant; bribed by its largesse and overawing it by its clamours and combinations.
  316. [Chomsky interview by W.O.R.T. Community Radio in Madison, WI]: Suppose I get up on Nightline, I’m given whatever it is, two minutes, and I say Qaddafi is a terrorist and Khomeini is a murderer, the Russians invaded Afghanistan, all this sort of stuff—I don’t need any evidence, everybody just nods. On the other hand, suppose you say something that just isn’t repeating conventional pieties. Suppose you say something that’s the least bit unexpected or controversial. Suppose you say, “The biggest international terror operations that are known are the ones that are run out of Washington.”…Suppose you say, “What happened in the 1980s is the U.S. government was driven underground.” Suppose I say, “The United States is invading South Vietnam”—as it was. “The best political leaders are the ones who are lazy and corrupt.” “If the Nuremburg laws were applied, then every post-war American President would have been hanged.” “The Bible is probably the most genocidal book in our total canon.” “Education is a system of imposed ignorance.” “There’s no more morality in world affairs, fundamentally, than there was at the time of Genghis Kahn, there are just different factors to be concerned with.” You know, people will quite reasonably expect to know what you mean. Why did you say that? I never heard that before. If you said that you better have a reason, you better have some evidence, and in fact you better have a lot of evidence, because that’s a pretty startling comment. You can’t give evidence if you’re stuck with concision. That’s the genius of this structural constraint.
  317. Presidential candidate Gary Hart’s pollsters found in 1975 that “the overwhelming majority” of the American population believes that “workers, employees, and community residents should control the [business] enterprises located in their communities,” though “socialism” is advocated by virtually no one.
  318. [From John Dewey and American Democracy]: [Dewey advanced:] In order to restore democracy, one thing and one thing only is essential. The people will rule when they have power, and they will have power in the degree they own and control the land, the banks, the producing and distributing agencies of the nation. Ravings about Bolshevism, Communism, Socialism are irrelevant to the axiomatic truth of this statement. They come either from complaisant ignorance or from the deliberate desire of those in possession, power and rule to perpetuate their privilege. As long as politics is the shadow cast on society by big business, the attenuation of the shadow will not change the substance.
  319. [From Multinational Monitor, 1992]: Another measure of the single-payer system’s cost-slashing success. Blue Cross of Massachusetts covers 2.7 million subscribers and employs 6,680 people, more than are employed in all of Canada’s provincial health programs, which insure 26 million Canadians.
  320. [From New York Times, 1993]: Fifty-nine percent of the respondents [in the U.S.] said they favored a different model, one that Mr. Clinton has rejected: a Canadian-style system of national health insurance paid for with tax money.
  321. [From A People’s History of the United States]: The Fourteenth Amendment “had been passed to protect Negro rights, but of the Fourteenth Amendment cases brought before the Supreme Court between 1890 and 1910, nineteen dealt with the Negro, 288 dealt with corporations.”
  322. [From N.C.C.: The New Abolitionists]: Unfortunately, the [federal judge] appointments made by President Kennedy, in precisely those years when the civil rights struggle reached its height and court decisions were so crucial, were a great disservice to the cause of racial equality. As the Southern Regional Council suggested, if the President could not secure Senate approval for his appointments, he could leave the seats vacant to dramatize the issue. Kennedy was just not bold enough to break the tradition of getting the approval of Southern segregationist Senators in the appointment of federal judges; thus, again and again, he appointed racists to sit on federal courts in the South…[Kennedy appointee in Georgia J. Robert] Elliot once said, before he became a judge (as reported in the New York Times): “I don’t want these pinks, radicals and black voters to outvote those who are trying to preserve our segregationist laws and other traditions.”…[Mississippi appointee William Cox] said (the New York Times reported]: “…I am not interested in whether the registrar is going to give a registration test to a bunch of niggers on a voter drive.”…In Alabama, Kennedy appointed Clarence W. Allgood, who ruled that it was legal for the Birmingham school board to expel 1,100 Negro children from schools because they joined desegregation demonstrations. In Louisiana, [Kennedy] appointed E. Gordon West…[who] wrote (as reported in the Boston Globe): “I personally regard the 1954 holding of the United States Supreme Court in the now famous Brown case [prohibiting segregated schools] as one of the truly regrettable decisions of all times.” Another Kennedy appointee in Louisiana, Frank Ellis, joined Wes in holding constitutional a Louisiana law requiring that the race of candidates be put on the ballot in elections.
  323. [From The State of Working America, 1998-1999]: Corporate chief executive officers (C.E.O.s) have seen their pay skyrocket. In 195, the typical C.E.O. made about 20 times more than the average production worker; in 1989, the ratio had almost tripled to 56; by 1997, relative C.E.O. pay had more than doubled again to 116 times the pay of the average worker. A separate estimate of C.E.O. pay shows that the salary, bonus, and returns from stock plans of the average C.E.O. grew 100% between 1989 and 1997. Extraordinarily high C.E.O. pay appears to be a uniquely American phenomenon, with U.S. C.E.O.s earning, on average, more than twice as much as C.E.O.s in other advanced economies.
  324. [From The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure]: U.S. manufacturing employees currently work 320 more hours [per year]—the equivalent of over two months—than their counterparts in West Germany or France…[Compared to 1969 in the U.S.,] the average employed person [in 1989 was] on the job an additional 163 hours, or the equivalent of an extra month a year.
  325. [From Child neglect in rich nations, 1993]: In sharp contrast to the restricted maternity benefits typical of the Anglo-American world, a large number of Western European governments provide a generous package of rights and benefits to all working parents when a child is born. For example, Sweden provides a parenting leave of 15 months at the birth of a child, to be taken by either parent, and replaces 90 percent of earnings up to a specified maximum. In Italy, a pregnant woman is entitled to five months of paid leave at 80 percent of her wage, followed by a further six months at 30 percent of her wage. Her job is guaranteed for both periods. Perhaps the most remarkable fact about the Italian system is that a woman is entitled to two years of credit towards seniority each time she gives birth to a child. Not only does an Italian woman not get fired for having a child—she is actually rewarded.
  326. [From Child neglect in rich nations]: The United States has by far the highest percentage of children living in poverty: 20 percent, which represents a 21 percent increase since 1970…Three other “Anglo-American” countries—Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom—are at or near the 9 percent mark. Yet, in most other rich countries, child poverty rates are a fraction of the United States rate. In Western Europe and Japan, for example, child poverty rates typically hover around 2 to 5 percent…Child poverty rates, school drop-out rates and teenage suicide rates [in the U.S.] are all on the rise…Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores for college-bound students are 70 points lower than they were 20 years ago…The overall drift [in the “Anglo-American countries is]…towards blighting youngsters and stunting their potential.
  327. [From the Boston Globe]: The United States, the richest country in the world, has only the 19th-lowest rate of death for children under 5. For infants, the mortality rate of white children would rank with Switzerland, Japan and Canada. The death rate for African-American infants is worse than the rate in Cuba, Poland and Bulgaria.
  328. [From Fortune, 1993]: A dazzling $62.6 billion in profits…What makes that 15% gain even more impressive is that sales growth in 1993 was virtually stagnant…Employees, though, might well voice a few loud gripes.
  329. [From the New York Times, 1994]: Payments to the poor add up to less than the three largest tax breaks that benefit the middle class and wealthy: deductions for retirement plans, the deduction for home mortgage interest and the exemption of health-insurance premiums that companies pay for their employees. Perhaps more important, most tax breaks and payments to the well-situated are practically exempt from the debate over controlling expenditures.
  330. [From The New Field Guide to the U.S. Economy, 1995:] Adding together the value of direct benefits and tax breaks, an average household with income under $10,000 received 60 percent of the welfare provided to households with incomes over $100,000 in 1991: $5,700 to $9,300. Moreover, “the top tax rate on income fell from 90% during the Kennedy years to 31% during the Reagan years.”
  331. [From Take The Rich Off Welfare:] Welfare for the rich costs us about 3 ½ times as much as the $130 billion we spend each year on welfare for the poor—an amount the 1996 welfare “reform” bill will reduce significantly…$448 billion greatly understates the amount of money American taxpayers spend each year on welfare for the rich…Social Security tax is a major technique for transferring the tax burden away from the rich. One reason is that it only applies to “earned” income; income from investments is exempt. Another reason is that there’s a ceiling…on how much earned income is taxed…This makes Social Security one of our most regressive taxes. A family that made the (1993) median income of $37,800 paid 7.65% of its income in Social Security tax, while one that made ten times as much paid 1.46% and one that made a hundred times as much paid 0.1% (one-tenth of 1%)…Homeowners get five different federal tax breaks that the 40 million American families who rent their homes don’t…Two-thirds of the benefits go to families with incomes of $75,000 or higher…Although about 63 million U.S. families own their homes, only 27 million—fewer than half—claimed the mortgage interest deduction in 1994. That’s probably because it isn’t worth it for most nonwealthy taxpayers to itemize their deductions. What’s more, the lower your tax bracket, the less the deduction is worth to you…The National Housing Institute calculates that this deduction cost the Treasury slightly more than $58 billion in fiscal 1995, and that half that total–$29 billion—went to people with incomes over $100,000…Of the U.S.-based transnationals with assets over $100 million, 37% paid no U.S. federal taxes at all in 1991, and the average tax rate for those that did pay was just 1% of gross receipts! (We’d tell you what it was as a percentage of profits, but nobody knows. That’s just the point—they avoid paying tax by concealing how much profit they make.) Foreign-based transnationals did even better. 71% of them paid no U.S. income tax on their operations in this country, and the average rate for those that did pay was just 0.6%–six-tenths of one percent—of gross receipts!…The [business] meals and entertainment deduction amounts to an annual subsidy of $5.5 billion for fancy restaurants, golf courses, skyboxes at sports arenas and the like. And it’s applied unequally. Factory workers can’t deduct meals or sporting events at which they discuss their jobs with colleagues—nor can any taxpayer who doesn’t itemize deductions.
  332. [From Beyond Hypocrisy: Decoding the News in an Age of Propaganda:] Between 1980 and 1990, the bottom 20 percent of income recipients had a federal tax rate increase of 16.2 percent; the top 20 percent had a federal tax reduction of 5.5 percent; and the rate for the top 5 percent fell 9.5 percent. The 59 percent of the population in the lower and middle income ranges had a larger federal tax obligation in 1990 than in 1980, despite the Reagan tax cuts, mainly because of the regressive Social Security tax increases.
  333. [From the Village Voice Literary Supplement, 1992:] In 1991, this country spent $26.2 billion on building and operating prisons and supervising individuals on probation and parole. In the same year, it spent $22.9 billion on A.F.D.C. [Aid to Families With Dependent Children] There were more than 10 times as many people on A.F.D.C. That’s $1,696 a year for A.F.D.C. per person, compared to $23,818 per prisoner. The point of this comparison is not that prisoners are living high off the hog. It’s that experts seem to worry more about the possibility that a welfare recipient might lie in bed watching a soap opera than about the possibility that joblessness and urban degradation might contribute to high crime rates.
  334. [From The State of Working America, 1998-1999:] The U.S. tax and transfer system creates a 28.5% reduction in the poverty rate, whereas the tax and transfer systems in all other industrialized countries decrease poverty rates by between 60 and 80 percent, the only exceptions being Britain, Australia and Canada, whose tax and transfer programs still reduce poverty rates by approximately 50 percent.
  335. [From Foreign Affairs, America and the World, 1991-1992:] In 1989, half of the U.S. public believed that foreign aid was the largest element in the federal budget; in reality, U.S. foreign aid had by then sunk to last place among the industrial countries, barely detectable in the federal budget and a miserly 0.21 percent of Gross National Product.
  336. [From the Economist, 1999:] This week the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that the nation’s prison and jail population has increased yet again, by 4.4% to 1.8m in the year to June 1998. This represents slower growth than the annual average of 6.2% since 1990, or the 5.9% growth in 1997. But it is not much of a slowdown. More remarkable is the fact that America’s prison population continues to grow at such a steady pace in the teeth of two other facts: rates of reported crime have fallen for each of the past six years, and America has already locked up more people than any country in the world…Blacks comprise 12% of the American population, but represent nearly half of those in prison or jail.
  337. [From Cages of Steel: The Politics of Imprisonment in the United States:] Black males in the United States are incarcerated at a rate four times that of black males in South Africa, 3,109 per 100,000, compared to 729 per 100,000.
  338. [From Contemporary Drug Problems:] However, in the midst of the Great Depression, the [Federal Bureau of Narcotics] had endured four straight years of budget cuts, and with opiates and cocaine already outlawed, [the bureau chief Harry] Anslinger felt he needed a new villain to justify the bureau’s existence. Anslinger circulated to newspapers across the nation an unsubstantiated tale of a Florida youth who had murdered his entire family, allegedly under the influence of the “killer weed.” After the story had been reprinted in many newspapers, Anslinger held up the clippings before Congress as evidence of the need for a new federal law. This scare too tapped racial fears: the “killer weed,” it was said, made Mexicans, in particular, violent.
  339. [From The Real War on Crime: The Report of the National Criminal Justice Commission, 1996:] African-American males make up less than 7 percent of the U.S. population, yet they comprise almost half of the prison and jail population. In 1992, 56 percent of all African-American men aged 18 to 35 in Baltimore were under some form of criminal justice supervision on any given day. In the District of Columbia, the figure was 42 percent. One out of every three African-American men between the ages of 20 and 29 in the entire country—including suburban and rural areas—was under some form of criminal justice supervision in 1994…In 1992, 29 percent of prison admissions were white, while 51 percent were African-American and 20 percent were Hispanic. Almost three out of four prison admissions today are either African-American or Hispanic. Ninety percent of the prison admissions for drug offenses are African-American or Hispanic…In New York City, 92 percent of drug arrests were of African-Americans or Hispanics. In St. Paul, African-Americans were 26 times as likely to be arrested on a drug charge as whites.
  340. [From the author’s ride with the Rapid Deployment Unit of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police, “Policing the Ghetto Underclass,” Social Problems:] “It is 10:25 at night when an undercover agent purchases $50 of crack cocaine from a young black male. The agent calls [the author and his students] and tells us that the suspect has just entered a building and gone into an apartment. We go immediately to the apartment; the police enter without warning with their guns drawn. Small children begin to scream and cry. The adults in the apartment are thrown to the floor, the police are shouting, the three women in the apartment are swearing and shouting ‘You can’t just barge in here like this…where is your goddam warrant?’ The suspect is caught and brought outside. The identification is made and the suspect is arrested. The suspect is sixteen years old. While the suspect is being questioned one policeman says: ‘I should kick your little black ass right here for dealing this shit. You are a worthless little scumbag, do you realize that?’ Another officer asks: ‘What is your mother’s name, son? My mistake…she is probably a whore and you are just a ghetto bastard. Am I right?’ The suspect is cooperative and soft spoken. He does not appear to be menacing or a threat. He offers no resistance. The suspect’s demeanor seems to cause the police officers to become more abusive verbally. The suspect is handled very roughly. Handcuffs are cinched tightly and he is shoved against the patrol car. His head hits the door frame of the car as he is pushed into the back seat of the patrol car. One of the officers comments that it is nice to make ‘a clean arrest.’” When asked whether it is legal to enter a home without a warrant, the arresting officer replies: “’This is Southeast [Washington] and the Supreme Court has little regard for little shit like busting in on someone who just committed a crime involving drugs…Who will argue for the juvenile in this case? No one can and no one will.’”
  341. [From the Los Angeles Times, 1995:] Research has repeatedly shown that education—and in particular, higher education—helps keep former inmates out of trouble. While national recidivism rates hover around 60%, a Texas study found that only 13.7% of inmates who earned an associate of arts degree returned to prison; the figure was 5.6% for those who earned a bachelor’s degree. In New York, 45% of offenders without college degrees returned, compared to 26% of those who got diplomas in prison.
  342. [From In These Times, 1996:] The F.B.I. reports burglary and robbery combined cost the nation about $4 billion in 1995. In contrast, white-collar fraud, generally committed by intelligent people of means—such as doctors, lawyers, accountants and businessmen—alone costs an estimated 50 times as much—$200 billion a year.
  343. [From The New Field Guide to the U.S. Economy, 1995:] In 1992, Business Week estimated that poverty-related crime in the U.S. cost the country $50 billion and that productive employment for the poor could generate $60 billion. In that year, additional public transfers of $45.8 billion could have brought the incomes of all families over the poverty line. That $45.8 billion represented: less than 1% of gross domestic product [or] about 15% of military spending. Poverty among children could have been eliminated by transfers of little more than half that amount—$28 billion. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. could easily have raised that amount of money by taxing the richest 1% of Americans at the same rates in effect in 1977.
  344. [From The Real War on Crime:] Although it is often assumed that the United States has a high rate of incarceration because of a high crime rate, in reality the overall rate of crime in this country is not extraordinary. The one exception is murder. Largely because of the prevalence of firearms, we have about 22,000 homicides per year, about 10 times the per capita murder rate of most European countries…[However,] it is not our higher violent crime rates that lead to our high incarceration rates—the 22,000 homicides per year cannot account for the 1.5 million people behind bars. Rather, American rates of incarceration are higher because of our exceedingly harsh treatment of people convicted of lesser crimes.
  345. [From Village Voice Literary Supplement, 1992:] When asked whether we are spending too much, too little, or about the right amount on “welfare,” 44 percent of all respondents said “too much” and 23 percent said “too little.” When the phrase “assistance to the poor” was substituted for “welfare,” the percentage who said “too much” dropped to 13. The percentage who said “too little” increased to 64.
  346. [From Global Spin: The Corporate Assault On Environmentalism:] There are more public relations personnel than news reporters…P.R. has gradually replaced advertising in the corporate marketing budget: advertising [in 1998] makes up less than a third of the money spent on marketing in the U.S., compared with two-thirds in 1980.
  347. [From The Consumer Trap: Big Business Marketing:] Approximately $1 trillion per year, one-sixth of Gross Domestic Product [in 1995], much of it tax-deductible, [is spent on marketing], so that people pay for the privilege of being subjected to manipulation of their attitudes and behavior.
  348. [From the Boston Globe, 1992:] According to a British study released last week, more than one-fifth of the people alive in the developing world today will die of smoking-related causes…While many American companies have been criticized for not being aggressive in investing in Eastern Europe, American cigarette companies have been trail-blazers. Within days of the Berlin Wall’s coming down, Marlboro placed billboards in the area around the old border crossings to entice eastern Germans. Prague sometimes seems a city of rolling cigarette cartons, as both Camel and Marlboro have paid to repaint several Prague tram cars to look like boxes of cigarettes…“There is little awareness of health and environmental problems in Hungary,” one Western tobacco executive said here. “We have about 10 years of an open playing field.”
  349. [From the Christian Science Monitor, 1990:] [Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop testified at a Congressional Health and Environmental Subcommittee meeting:] “I am appalled at our own government’s support of such behavior—it is the export of death and disease…” When he was surgeon general, Koop testified before Congress against trying to force countries to accept U.S. cigarettes. “It is the height of hypocrisy for the United States, in our war against drugs, to demand that foreign nations take steps to stop the export of cocaine to our country while at the same time we export nicotine, a drug just as addictive as cocaine to the rest of the world,” Koop said.
  350. [From the New York Times, 1998:] Today the average household pays a ‘Lockheed Martin’ tax of approximately $200 per year to cover an array of military and civilian government contracts.
  351. [From the Wall Street Journal, 1994:] To try to fix some of the broader problems in the trade numbers, the National Academy of Sciences suggested toting up companies’ total sales, no matter where their factories are. That calculation better reflects the competitiveness of companies world-wide—and shows the U.S. a lot stronger than commonly recognized. Using that method, Commerce Department economists calculated that the U.S. would have posted an overall trade surplus in goods and services of $164 billion in 1991, rather than a $28 billion deficit.
  352. [From American Prospect, 1993:] Daily speculation flows now regularly exceed the combined foreign exchange reserves of all the G-7 governments.
  353. [From the Financial Times (London), 1992:] [The I.M.F. and World Bank] run large parts of the developing world and eastern Europe while insisting that the governments concerned are merely implementing their own plans. “We are there to help,” as the British used to say. The essence of the [Structural Adjustment Programme] is to encourage governments to follow the right kind of reform policy. A developing country can receive large, cheap loans if it adopts the programmes embodied in the orthodoxy of (more or less) balanced budgets, devaluation, privitisation, and a hearty welcome for foreign investment.
  354. [From The State of Working America, 1998-1999:] All of the growth in wealth during the 1990s has been a consequence of the increase in financial assets…(primarily the long-term rise in the value of stocks), a form of wealth that is concentrated in a small portion of the population. Wealth held in tangible assets, which is much more widely held, actually declined over the 1989-97 period…In 1995, for example, fewer than one-third of all households had stock holdings greater than $5,000. In the same year, almost 90% of the value of all stock was in the hands of the best-off 10% of households.
  355. [From the Boston Globe:] The top 1 percent of families captured more than half all income gains between 1980 and 1989 while the bottom 60 percent experienced income declines.
  356. [From Take The Rich Off Welfare:] Between 1983 and 1989, 99% of the increase in Americans’ wealth went to the top 20% of the population, and 62% of it went to the top 1% of the population (currently made up of families whose net worth is $2.35 million or more)…The total net worth of that top 1% is now equal to the total net worth of the bottom 90% of the population.
  357. [From The State of Working America, 1998-1999:] The result is that the entry-level wages of high school graduates in 1997 were 27.6% less for young men and 18.3% less for young women than in 1979…Many high-wage workers, particularly men, failed to see real wage improvements in the 1989-97 period. Male white-collar wages, including those for managers and technical workers, have been stagnant or have declined, and the wages of male college graduates have stagnated and remain below their level of the mid-1980s or early 1970s. The wages of new college graduates have declined by 7% among both men and women over the 1989-97 period despite a recent upturn, indicating that each years’ graduates are accepting more poorly paying jobs than their counterparts did at the end of the 1980s.
  358. [From the Christian Science Monitor, 1995:] The world’s biggest manufacturer of earth-moving equipment, based in Peoria, Ill., logged record fourth-quarter sales and earnings in 1994, despite the United Auto Workers (U.A.W.) seven-month-long walkout…Like many U.S. companies, Caterpillar has pursued a business strategy that has nudged American workers away from defiance toward compliance. It has responded to rising global competition by manufacturing at cheaper facilities abroad…By relying on imports from factories in Brazil, Japan, and Europe, Caterpillar is better able to meet demand and smooth out disruptions from a strike. And it has hired 1,100 new employees and 4,730 contract and temporary laborers at lower pay than the roughly $17 hourly wages U.A.W. workers earn. The union walked out after compiling 101 complaints of intimidation, harassment, unjustified dismissal, and other unfair labor practices.
  359. [From Selling Free Enterprise: the Business Assault on Labor and Liberalism, 1945-1960:] One public relations firm…warned in 1947 that “our present economic system, and the men who run it, have three years—maybe five at the outside—to resell our so-far preferred way of life as against competing systems…” In 1946, the Psychological Corporation found that 43 percent of surveyed workers believed they would do as well or better if American manufacturing firms were run entirely by the government. A 1950 Opinion Research Corporation sample of industrial workers found that over 30 percent believed that the government should control prices and limit profits, 26 percent wanted to see the government limit salaries of top executives and 21 percent would vote for government ownership of four key industries…[A 1946 survey in] the business journal Factory…found that 47 percent of factory workers thought that the government would do most in providing new peacetime jobs. Similarly the Opinion Research Corporation discovered that over 70 percent of workers believed that the government should guarantee jobs. For some corporate leaders the most startling revelation in terms of the outlook for business growth and survival was a Fortune poll that showed less than half of those interviewed believed hard work would pay off.
  360. [From Fortune, 1949:] The immense expansion of the art of public relations in the past ten years was financed mainly by industry…It is as impossible to imagine a genuine democracy without the science of persuasion [i.e. propaganda] as it is to think of a totalitarian state without coercion. The daily tonnage output of propaganda and publicity…has become an important force in American life. Nearly half of the contents of the best newspapers is derived from publicity releases; nearly all the contents of the lesser papers and the hundreds of specialized periodicals are directly or indirectly the work of P.R. departments…The day is surely coming when American business, so long run by its production men and supersalesmen, must be run by men who put public relations ahead of everything else…[Public relations] is a corporate way of life.
  361. [From Unreliable Sources: A Guide to Detecting Bias in News Media:] Newspapers are…inundated by corporate P.R. A study by Scott M. Culip, ex-dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia, found that 40 percent of the news content in a typical U.S. newspaper originated with public relations press releases, story memos, or suggestions…Charles Staebler, former assistant managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, estimated that up to 50 percent of the Journal’s stories are generated by press releases.
  362. [From Washington Babylon:] Think-tank scholars make money on the side by renting themselves out to public relations firms and lobbyists looking for “independent” supporters of their clients’ viewpoints. One P.R. industry rep describes his technique in the following way: “I call up an ‘expert,’ feign interest in his or her work, confirm that it’s consistent with the industry viewpoint and then seek to strike a deal,” normally for either a study or an appearance at a press event. “We don’t say that we want an industry mouthpiece, but that’s what it amounts to—and they know it. There are many people in this town who are willing to prostitute themselves and their work.”
  363. [From Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty:] In 1955 the secretary of [Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs, a business lobbying and popular-proselytizing organization,] was sent to the United States to study business’s economic education programs. His report attempted to convey some idea of the “vast sums” spent on the American operation and its enormous scale. He was able to inform us that General Motors produced more booklets as part of its “economic education” program for employees than it produced automobiles; that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce produced a “colour cartoon film” which had been seen by more than sixty million people and conducted a “Business-Education Day” annually on which 300,000 teachers had been given in-plant acquaintance with the free-enterprise viewpoint; that Sears Roebuck spent $1 million on a film about “the economic facts of life” which was shown, in work time, to its 200,000 employees; that U.S. Steel produced an economic education program for its 250,000 employees which was also used widely in schools and elsewhere; and that the [National Association of Manufacturers] produced a weekly series of films for T.V. which was shown nationwide.
  364. [From Selling Free Enterprise:] In 1950, the N.A.M. alone distributed almost four and a half million pamphlets to students, representing a 600 percent increase over 1947…In 1953, over 2 million school children read B.F. Goodrich Company’s cartoon-type booklet “Johnson Makes the Team,” in which Tommy Johnson, a son of a Goodrich tire dealer, learns about the American free enterprise system through teamwork in football. Hundreds of thousands of others watched the N.A.M.’s film, “The Price of Freedom,” which explored the hidden danger of security achieved through the growth of government.
  365. [From Industrial Conflict: A Psychological Interpretation:] The National Association of Manufacturers publicized [its strikebreaking plan] in a special release sent to its members in July, 1936…It stated, “If there ever was a strike that was BROKEN BY PUBLIC OPINION and determination of employees to work, it was the one called June 11, 1937, at 11 P.M. at the Cambria Plant of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation.” In essence, the “Formula” consists in employer mobilization of the public or “The Third Party” in a labor dispute. “A citizens’ committee is formed under the slogan of ‘law and order.’ Mass police powers are invoked against the strikers by dramatizing real, imaginary, or provoked instances of ‘violence.’ Back-to-work sentiment is stimulated by the presence of massed vigilantes, a pretense of normal plant operations, mass meetings, press and radio publicity, dissemination of demoralizing propaganda, the circulation of back-to-work petitions, and a well-timed dramatic opening of the plant so prearranged that a substantial body of non-strikers or outside recruits marches into the plant en masse. The employer manipulates pressure groups to discredit the strike as the ‘lost cause’ of a ‘radical minority.’ With public support, he can, if necessary, employ extra-legal means of thwarting unionization.”
  366. [From Encyclopedia of the American Constitution:] While encouraging the growth of big labor and ministering to the needs of the elderly and the poor, the New Deal also provided substantial benefits to American capitalists. Business opposition to Roosevelt was intense, but it was narrowly based in labor-intensive corporations in textiles, automobiles, and steel, which had the most to lose from collective bargaining. The New Deal found many business allies among firms in the growing service industries of banking, insurance, and stock brokerage where government regulations promised to reduce cutthroat competition and to weed out marginal operators. Because of its aggressive policies to expand American exports and investment opportunities abroad, the New Deal also drew support from high-technology firms and from the large oil companies who were eager to penetrate the British monopoly in the Middle East…In addition to restoring public confidence in the stock exchange and the securities industry, the Securities and Exchange Commission promoted self-regulation among over-the-counter dealers. Motor trucking firms received a helping hand from the Interstate Commerce Commission in reducing rate wars, and the major airlines looked to the Civil Aeronautics Board to protect them from the competitive rigors of the marketplace.


Verdict: 5 of 5 Eugenes