Sunday, April 17, 2011

How I View the American Crisis

By Robert Parry
April 17, 2011

Some readers tell me that I devote too much time to the historical context of the American political/media crisis. They say I should focus more on its current manifestations, especially when there are so many to address. And these readers have a point.

Read on.


rosemerry said...

Thanks Robert. I am an Australian now retired in France, and notice the terrible similar signs here too. People who are called "left" to me are not, and I have not swerved right from my earlier days as a strong union member, worker for environmental and social causes, and now trying to stem the Zionist encroachment on every part of life. Why "socialism" is considered an evil in the USA, when one realises it is real christianity in action, never ceases to amaze me. I will now donate to consortiumnews!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't see the American decline in your terms. You talk about the "miscalculation of the left." I would say that there is no left--in fact, since the fifties or even before, the left has been absent in American politics. It was associated with communism during the forties and fifties and came to be despised through incessant propaganda sponsored by the government and right-wing media (There was no significant left-wing media) I lived during the fifties and I remember the fear inculcated by TV, radio, and the news of Communist Russia and China and their eagerness of "enslave" the American people. Americans made the connections between the left and Soviet-style socialism. That was enough to kill socialism for the next two or three generations.

Michael Caddell said...

@ Anonymous: You may be touching on some of the trigger words that raised particular historical prejudices older Americans have about equating "state capitalism" and "totalitarianism" to "socialism." The old "Cold War" phobias have taken a, in my view based on nearly twenty years active in "the left," a small resurgence especially engineered by a dominant virulent corporate right-wing media. Witness the intense anti-"socialist" blathering of Glenn Beck and his older audiences mobilized around the Tea Party "movement." The fact is that today's activists and "left media" in America today is quite alive, minuscule in influence; largely due to what Parry has summarized repeatedly in his historical narratives at Consortium News. They did not build large sustainable news organizations; that dug deep into the maneuvers, both militaristic and economically to expose factual exploitation of other weaker countries' populations and resources. And when these dissident news organisations did, it did not reach a wide enough audience to effect serious foreign policy among the nation's elite. Empires tend to bloom, as the United States has for the last five or six decades since WWII, while the Old European ones have largely made "socialism" or "social-democracy" not only respectable but part of each countries' "media infrastructure." Today's efforts, even as the "Great Recession" threatens to slide into a significant global "Great Depression" as the president of the World Bank and others warned this weekend: may provide the catalyst for mass opposition to the new multinational corporate plutocrats. Will it spark a democratic working class awakening in the United States, as in North Africa? I do not know, but Consortium News deserves as much financial support as it's readers can muster from our thin wallets.

Peter Loeb said...


History rarely comes in "left" or
"right" flavors. These are merely
handy rehetorical flourishes
trotted out for partisan purposes.

It is unfortunate that "socialism"
has become a pejorative word in
the US. As most of us know,
the non-wealthy among us (which
includes most of us) want the benefits.

We have become products of greed.

To be more specific, most of us
want the health care benefits.
Here is North America as part of
our history (the genocide of Native
Americans beginning in the early
71th century ) through the
racist Manifest Destiny views of
the 19th century have made
major "contributions".

I have commented at greater length
in these columns previously.

One always defines health care
as MINE. One doesn't have any
responsibility for anyone else's
health care. This is MY momey,
we say. No taxes.

But do we want the care, the access of other healthcare systems?
Of course we do.

My congratulations to Rosemerry
and Michael Caddell for your

I have used healthcare above.
That is but an examploe, no more.

The same goes for other benefits.
I am more familiar with the
Scandinavian model but France---
for different historical reasons---
has its own forms, its vacations,
its traditions of criticism from the "left" in intellectual life,
and its premium on the arts...

Born in NYC, I lived in Sweden for
7 years and was a faithful member
(and "ombudsman") for "SAP",
the social arbetare partiet
(socialist workers' party). My
anti-Zionism has expelled me from
activity within the US Democratic


Peter Loeb said...


Early 17th century (NOT "71").


For info on the Pequot Wars (now
known as Block Island) see:

Richard Drinnon: FACING WEST

For info on Manifest Destiny see
William Earl Weeks' BUILDING

I have commented on these phenomena
in earlier columns for consortium. My first column appeared (unfortunately) under "Anonymous" as I had not yet learned how to push under my own name. I am technologically untutored. That blog/comment is signed with my email.

I recommend Lawrence Davidson on
brief books on Zionism and its
development (in that order). They are both extremely helpful.

My sources on other some other foreign policy issues are often
a lot of work and some are
(unfortunately) out-of-print.

More recent works by Gabriel Kolko
such as WORLD IN CRISIS (2009) are
in print and paperback however.


I try to steer clear of what is
"really" Christian. I am of
Jewish heritage. My parents
were non-practicing Jews but
worked for the anti-fascist
resistance in exile inParis
during WW II.

I have become anti-Zionist.

I worked side-by-side with fund-
amentalist Christian civil rights
workers in Mississippi in 1965
and before. Fundamentalism, whether
Christian or Muslim, is usually strengthened by oppression.

I have been fortunate! Only one
commenter called me an "anti-
semite." Professor Davidson
wrote me that "it goes with the

Noam Chomsky and his work has
been a major influence on my
re-invigorated perspectives.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Parry's assessment is largely correct. There is only one major fault that I can see. When the neo-nazis were stealing our republic, newspaper by broadcast, etc. they were also stealing our vote. Their great tactic was to leave us with the illusion that we had at any given time voted and that our vote actually counted. The Supreme Court and Diebold took us by the hand showing us the error of our ways.

Peter D. Hruschka said...

Keep on writing the historical perspectives. Don't be persuaded that all we need to know is the present.
Historical perspective may not solve all our problems, but the absence of historical perspective is not a wise choice.