Bulletin N° 745
Subject : Kicking Up the Dust For More Predatory Gaming: The Contradictions of Corporate Capitalism and the Production of International Class Struggle.
April 1, 2017
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The debacle of the international capitalist system is not necessarily synonymous with the collapse of capitalism and ruling-class power. The international ruling classes seem to be preparing ideologically and materially for the transition to new social class structures which will assure their continued exploitation of labor at the cost of society and the environment. The violent movement towards political decentralization --in the context of the increasing concentration of capital—is the precondition for the creation of a ‘new colonialism,’ which we might call a “colonize thy neighbor” policy. In our world today, we are told in a recent issue othere are 2,043 billionaires. The dismantling of territorial states –both the process and the outcome-- is intended to create new investment opportunities across the planet (including in North America) for a small number of people to profit, while the rest of us must be kept busy and out of the way!
The history of Ireland is instructive of this process of colonization. In Ireland, it began with the Anglo-Norman invasion in 1169 and endured for more than 800 years, after the conquest of the High King of Ireland, Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (Rory O'Connor), with the backing of King Henry II of England and authorization by Pope Adrian IV.
The historian Fernand Braudel describes the economic relationship between Irish peasants and English owners, which started long before the formation of the capitalist system as we know it.
In Ireland, the situation was very different [from that of Scotland]: it was in the twelfth century that the English invaded and settled within the Pale, as they were later to do in their American colonies. The Irish were the enemy, savages simultaneously despised and feared. The consequence was mutual incomprehension, high-handedness by the invaders, and horrors whose sinister catalogue needs no elaboration: the story has been told with lucidity and honesty by the English historians themselves. There can be no doubt, as one of them has put it, that ‘the Irish;, together with the blacks who were sold as slaves were the victims of the system which brought Great Britain world hegemony’.
But our concern here is neither the colonization of Ulster, nor the ‘farce’ of the so-called Irish government set up in Dublin (a fiction which was of course destroyed by the Act of Union of 1801); it is the subjection of Ireland to the English market, that total subjection which meant that ‘throughout the eighteenth century, trade to Ireland was the most important branch of English overseas trade’. This exploitation originated in the estates of the Protestant Anglo-Irish, who had appropriated for their own advantage three-quarters of the land in Ireland. Out of an annual income of £4 million, rural Ireland paid these absentee landlords annual dues of the order of £800,000 by the end of the eighteenth century the sum had reached £1 million. In these conditions, the Irish peasant was reduced to severe poverty, aggravated by the rising population.
Thus Ireland sank into the position of the ‘peripheral’ country, subject to ‘cycles’ in the sense of the word used by Lucio de Azevedo of the Brazilian economy. In about 1600, since Ireland was covered with forests, she became a supplier of timber to England and developed, again for her masters, an iron industry which collapsed of itself when the island had been completely deforested after a hundred years. Next, to meet the rising demand of the English cities, Ireland specialized in livestock farming and export of salt beef and pork, and kegs of butter –for the English market was plentifully- supplied with meat on the hoof from Scotland and Wales and closed her doors to live animal exports from Ireland. The key port for these huge meat exports was Cork in the south: which supplied not only England but the English fleet, the sugar islands of the West Indies and the fleets of other western nations, notably France. In 1783, during the season ‘which lasts through October, November and December’, almost 50,000 head of cattle were slaughtered in Cork; plus ‘pigs which were killed in the spring’ to the same value, not to mention the product of other slaughterhouses. European merchants had their eyes glued to the prices fixed at the end of the season on kegs of salty beef or pork, and bacon, lard, butter and cheese by the quintal. The bishop of Cloyne, reckoning the prodigious quantity of cattle, pigs, butter and cheese exported every year from Ireland as curious enough to wonder ‘how a foreigner could possibly conceive that half the inhabitants are dying of hunger in a country so abundant in foodstuffs’? But these foodstuffs did not of course contribute in any way to domestic consumption, any more than the Polish peasant consumed his own grain.
Toward the end of the century, Irish salt meat encountered competition from Russian exports via Archangel and even more from shipments out of the English colonies in America. It was then that the ‘grain cycle’ began. A French consul wrote from Dublin on 24 November 1789 :
The most enlightened people whom I have been able to consult . . . regard the salt meat trade in Ireland as doomed, but far from being distressed at this they are pleased to see that the big landowners are forced in their own interest to change the system of exploitation which has prevailed hitherto, and no longer to give over to grazing vast and fertile estates which if cultivated would provide employment and subsistence for a much greater number of inhabitants. This revolution has already taken place and is proceeding with inconceivable rapidity. Ireland, which was formerly dependent upon England for the grain consumed in the capital [Dublin] which was the only part of Ireland in which this foodstuff was at all known, has been in a position for several years now to export considerable quantities of it.
As the reader will know, England, once a grain exporter, had become with the beginnings of industrialization and a rising population, a cereal importer. The grain cycle continued in Ireland until the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. But in its early stages, this cereal export was a maneuver reminiscent of the situation of seventeenth-century Poland. The Irish, our informant explains,
are only able to export [cereals in 1789] because the great majority of them do not consume it; it is not the surplus that leaves the country, it is what anywhere else would be the vital necessity. The people in three-quarters of this island are content to eat potatoes, and in the north, groats from which they make oatcakes and porridge. Thus a people which is poor, but used to privation, is feeding a nation [England] which has far more natural wealth than itself.
If one looked simply at the statistics for foreign trade –which also included salmon, fisheries, profitable whaling expeditions, large-scale exports of linen whose manufacture had begun in mid-eighteenth century—Ireland should have had in 1780 a trade surplus of £1 million: this was precisely what she paid every year to her English landlords. (Braudel, Civilization & Capitalism, vol. 3, pp. 373-374)
The historical formations of capitalist relationships over the centuries can be instructive of what might come next: The ruling classes will predictably do whatever is necessary to retain their advantages in times of crisis. What is not predictable are the extremes to which they will be driven. Alternatives to the cruel mastery of this class domination are limited only by our imprisoned imaginations: ‘Whose’ are we? and what do we really want? –these are the practical questions each of us must continually ask ourselves; any empty mind will be formatted and filled immediately with capitalist propaganda. In this context, the memorable words of the late Howard Zinn serve as an important corrective :
The below should have a sobering effect on CEIMSA readers, who wish to remain conscious of the illicit political hegemony of corporate capitalism which governs society during this descent into a state of great peril that has now been unleashed upon us, beginning with the most vulnerable.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
The United States of Cognitive Dissonance
by CJ Hopkins
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Pressure From Below
by Mike Whitney
Ominous developments in East Syria have drawn the United States and Russia into closer proximity increasing the likelihood of a violent confrontation. The Trump administration has embarked on a dangerous plan to defeat the terrorist militia, ISIS, in Raqqa. But recent comments by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggest that Washington’s long-term strategy may conflict with Moscow’s goal of restoring Syria’s sovereign borders. Something’s got to give. Either Russia ceases its clearing operations in east Syria or Washington agrees to withdraw its US-backed forces when the battle is over. If neither side gives ground, there’s going to be a collision between the two nuclear-armed adversaries.
(Listen, also, to Vanessa Beeley's alternative-media analysis on “21st Century Wire” of the pivotal situation in Syria today at : http://21stcenturywire.com/sundaywire/ about 2 hours into this 3-hour program.)
Saudi Arabia pivots to China
(28 March 2017)
by Jean Shaoul
John Pilger: Disastrous Consequences if US Proceeds
with “Policy of Provocation”
After losing its economic prowess, Washington has turned almost obsessively to its military might, and the prospect of nuclear war is no longer unthinkable.
US Senator Al Franken Grills Neil Gorsuch on Frozen Trucker Case in Extended Questioning
Defending the Climate in the Age of Trump
Centre for Sustainable Economy's Ted Gleichman says we need to see the fossil fuel industry as a rogue industry that can no longer be considered just another normal part of the economy.
Climate Catastrophe Is Here: 2016 Hottest Year on Record
Dr. Michael Mann emphasizes says we are already seeing global impacts; within one to two decades we are on track for an iceless Arctic
Study Links Extreme Weather Events to Climate Change
Dr. Michael Mann says the way climate change affects the jet stream is intensifying and increasing the regional scale of droughts and flooding
Baltimore Mayor's Veto of $15/Hr Bill Shows
Corporate Wing of Democrats Alive and Well
Labor reporter Mike Elk discusses the potential backlash faced by Maryland Democrats as well as the significance of the Mississippi Nissan workers struggle - Part (1/5)
Nebraskan Landowners Resist Keystone XL By Refusing to Sell Their Property to TransCanada
by Margaret Kimberley
“Hillary Clinton must be stopped before she goes any further in thinking herself rehabilitated.”
How long should one stay in rehab after losing to Donald Trump? In Hillary Clinton’s case, forever. Clinton’s recent “coming back out” party in Scranton, Pennsylvania, shows that “there will be no deviation from the failed strategies which put Trump in the White House.” With nothing else to offer (except war and more war) she’s still running against Trump. “If Trump didn’t exist the Democratic Party would have had to invent him.”
Rehabilitating George Bush and Tony Blair
by David Edwards
George W Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, bears responsibility for the destruction of an entire country, the killing of one million Iraqis, the wounding and displacement of countless millions more. Before “Dubya,” there had never been a suicide bomb attack in Iraq — the car bombs, the mass executions, the disappearances, the endless tortures, the bombs in London and Madrid, the rise of Islamic State, all began with him.
Surveillance State Behind Russia-gate
by Ray McGovern and Bill Binney
Amid the frenzy over the Trump team’s talks with Russians, are we missing a darker story, how the Deep State’s surveillance powers control the nation’s leaders, ask U.S. intelligence veterans Ray McGovern and Bill Binney.
Interviews With Labor Organizer Mike Elk on American Political Culuture, Past & Present
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The Protest-Resignation of UN Under-Secretary
Dr. Rima Khalaf
UN Secretary General Guterres caves under pressure from Israel and United States and orders Under-Secretary Rima Khalaf to withdraw an incriminating investigative report on Israeli apartheid policies against Palestinians, says Vijay Prashad
bombs in London and Madrid, the rise of Islamic State, all began with him.
Daesh, Creature of the West
by Pepe Escobar
Leaked Clinton email admits Saudi, Qatari government funding of ISIS in Syria
by Bill Van Auken
Gas From Israel And The Flynn Wiretapping - Behind The Deep-State Infighting Over The Trump Election
by Moon Of Alabama
US Forces Block Syrian Army Advance in
Preparation For Syria Partition
A U.S.-backed operation near Raqqa aims to "block any advance by Syrian government forces from the west". The Balkanization of Syria begins.
Will Dems Derail Sanders Push for Public Option?
Wendell Potter, a health insurance executive turned whistleblower, on the GOP failure to repeal Obamacare and what lessons the 2009 defeat of the public option - when Democrats controlled Congress - can offer today.
Sent: Friday, 31 March, 2017
Subject: [haw-info] HAW Notes 3/31/17: Links to recent articles of interest
Links to Recent Articles of Interest
By Andrew J. Bacevich, The American Conservative, posted March 30
Review essay on Michael Kazin’s new book War Against War, on the World War I–era peace movement. Andrew Bacevich is an emeritus professor of history and international relations at Boston University.
By Matthew Stevenson, CounterPunch.org, posted March 29, 2017
A long, very readable travelogue with historical reflections on the Indochina wars
By Ahmed Rashid, New York Review of Books blog, posted March 27
By John W. Dower, TomDispatch.com, posted March 28, 2017
This is an adaptation of the first chapter of the author’s forthcoming book, The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War Two.
By Micah Zenko, Council on Foreign Relations blog, posted March 27
The author is a senior fellow at the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations. The subject is the bombing campaign in Yemen.
By Jeremy Kuzmarov, Huffington Post, posted March 26
The author teaches history at the University of Tulsa.
By Bruce Cumings, The Nation, posted March 23
The author teaches East Asian history at the University of Chicago.
By Elizabeth McKillen, Labor and Working Class History Association blog, posted March 20
The author teaches history at the University of Maine.
By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com, posted March 16
By John Broich, Slate, posted March 13
The author teaches history at Case Western Reserve University.
Thanks to Mim Jackson and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles that are included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.