Stampede to Extinction
The CIA, since its inception in the late 1940s, has bought, corrupted and otherwise influenced individuals and governments across the world. Their use of money parallels the way wealth buys and otherwise corrupts and over-influences the U.S. government, electorate and other institutions.
Wealthy individuals and corporations make money available to candidates who serve a narrow, corporate, pro-capitalist agenda and who will attack and otherwise undermine the efforts of those with a non-corporate, alternative agenda.
The CIA did it in Iran, essentially buying a revolution, over-throwing a democratically elected government, in the early 50s. Same scenario in Guatemala, same time-frame. Gangsters were used to intimidate and corrupt unions and political parties, in France and Italy after World War II., sometimes in exchange for allowing heroine smuggling into the U.S. These are not “rogue” operations. They are deliberate policies formulated by those with their hands on the levers of power. I risk the obvious: when certain “interests” are at stake the U.S. consistently chooses to ally itself with criminals against citizens practicing democracy.
Oil-rich Texans influenced the shape of our democracy by funding right wing groups such as ex-CIA agent William F. Buckley’s National Review, Billy Graham’s religious taming of the masses and other modestly zanier right wingers such as the John Birch Society. They did not restrict themselves to Texas, targeting “liberal” senators across the nation, lavishly funding their opponents, usually staunch embracers of the religion of anti-communism, meaning actually pro-capitalist privilege. Wealthy activists in other parts of the country may not have been as flamboyant but were no less persistent in their determination to undermine democracy and advance oligarchy.
The ideology of anti-communism is not principled opposition to the real lack of justice and democracy in the states, China, the Soviet Union, who claimed the mantle of socialism with warped commitments to its tenants – no, the capitalist class objected not to its oppressive secret police, gulags etc; as is shown by the alliances mentioned above with gangsters, and in the enthusiastic support for brutal regimes world-wide practicing the very evils they, rhetorically, decry. The threat of Communism to these “patriots” was not in its brutality but in its promise of equality and condemnation of class privilege.
The demise of the Soviet Union produced a smug superiority among the anti-communist clergy, immediately seizing the early 90s events for their propaganda value, claiming a victory for their market church, and moving in for what they perhaps saw as the final triumph over the threat of democracy. The Milton Friedman school of the “free market” spread like cancer, encountering only sporadic resistance until the Occupy Movement emerged, a reaction as inevitable and indicative of a genetic predisposition toward justice as its cousin the Arab Spring. In fits and starts we awake, suffering still the remnants of thousands of years of patriarchy but the life force instinctively seeks to survive and it is clear to the wakeful that whatever advantages might have favored the forces of domination in the past, they now offer only a stampede to extinction.
Illustration by Tom Ferguson