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The majority wants peace, but...
The text of a leaflet that was distributed during the Nixon administration by the Socialist Labor Party of America -- http://www.slp.org/
Millions of Americans are puzzled. They had been led to believe that public opinion shaped U.S. foreign policy. Then came the Vietnam war.
In 1964 a majority chose Johnson over Goldwater because they were against military escalation in Asia. Escalation came anyway.
Angry at being deceived, large numbers publicly displayed their resentment. But the war just went on escalating.
Finally, Johnson seemed to bow to popular sentiment by calling for a peace conference.
When Nixon endorsed the call and announced a "secret plan" to end the war, he was given the nod. Result: more disappointment.
Still, after months of stalling, Nixon has now budged. It begins to look as if peace is on the way at last.
Is It really? Or are the American people in for another letdown?
No need to wait for an answer. Not when it's easy enough to find out why America went into Vietnam in the first place.
THE DOLLARS AND CENTS MOTIVE
One explanation can be dismissed right away. It wasn't to safeguard the freedom and welfare of the Vietnamese people.
The motive of the costly invasion was strictly material. A clue to its nature was given back in 1958 by the then Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles. Dulles said:
"The United States today is exporting to the non-Communist countries of the Far East at the rate of over $21/2 billion a year. We may be sure that if the Communists should take over these free nations of the Far East, our trade with them would drastically shrink, as has been the case with the Soviet Union and its European satellites."
Markets in the Far East, the chance to exploit Asia's natural wealth and teeming labor supply - plus strategic strongholds from which to defend these economic prizes - are what U.S. capitalism is fighting for in Vietnam!
To nail down the coveted Asian empire, big capital's front men in Washington have risked war with China and/or Russia. They have risked rebellion at home and the loss of allies abroad.
Why? Are the stakes that tempting? They certainly are! A smell of profits for their capitalist masters and imperial power for themselves that makes any risk acceptable to the statesmen and the generals.
Lust for profits and power is one of the pro-pellants behind American imperialism. Another of still greater thrust is this: America's capitalist economy couldn't function without vast foreign markets and huge imports of raw materials.
NEED FOR EXPANDING MARKET
Let this truth sink in: U.S. capitalism must have expanding overseas markets to absorb a big part of its swelling output. It must also control a lion's share of the earth's resources to sustain the industrial-military muscle needed to secure a global economic empire. Unless it satisfies these imperatives, U.S. capitalism faces decline and collapse.
Given the foregoing facts, what are the chances for peace? Obviously, quite slim. They appear even less than that when the rest of the picture is viewed.
America's capitalist rulers confront imperialist rivals. Primarily, the rulers of Russia and China. Those gentlemen have their imperatives too. They too are driven to strive for empire in order to buttress their despotic regimes. And neither the Kosygins nor the Mao Tsetungs are about to let American capitalists take over the world without a tussle. Nor to let each other do it either!
Now, the war in Vietnam is merely an episode in this three-sided imperialist fight. So, though a ceasefire there is to be devoutly wished, that welcome event (if it ever arrives) will not bring America permanent peace.
American capitalist interests encircle the globe. A threat to these interests in any of several vital areas could soon suck the nation into a new armed conflict, quite possibly a global one next time.
Meantime, the slaughter continues in Vietnam, while in Paris American capitalism tries to minimize its Asian setback and its foes try to maximize it.
Where does all this leave the majority and their desire for early and lasting peace? Are these Americans to conclude that peace is unattainable? Of course not. But they should conclude that it is unattainable as long as capitalism (or class rule in any form) remains. For not only does capitalism inevitably breed war, it needs war to keep production going. Without the enormous business provided by military orders, it would have shut down long ago!
PEACE POSSIBLE, IF...
What, then, must be done to make America a peaceful neighbor? A thorough job of social reconstruction, starting with the economic foundation:
* If The American economy has to be brought under social control and democratically operated for the collective benefit of the entire nation.
* To effect social control and democratic operation, a completely new kind of government has to be set up.
-- a government based on industrial representation
-- a government in which the 70-odd million Americans who run this country's industries and services will participate daily
-- a government that will enable the majority of the people to democratically decide what shall be produced and how it shall be allocated.
Once the economy is producing to satisfy the nation's wants, once the great abundance producible is being used to wipe out poverty and slums, America will be rid of the insane capitalist compulsion to unload a large slice of its output abroad. The economic exchanges with other nations that will be deemed desirable can be arranged on mutually beneficial terms.
Can the other nations be expected to agree to fraternal and cooperative relations? Eventually, yes! The majority everywhere wants peace. Start the drive for it here, show them how to bounce the warmakers, and they'll follow suit.
What if they don't? Would this country stand exposed to agression? Not in the least. A Socialist America could, if it had to, defend itself with unmatchable material strength and moral unity.
However, considering the mood of revolt sweeping all the continents today, it is unrealistic to suppose that any imperialism -- whether capitalist or "communist" -- could long survive the impact of a Socialist America's example.
So, if you want peace, begin acting effectively to win it. Learn how the majority can peacefully establish social ownership and production for social use. Obtain this information without cost or obligation by filling in the coupon and mailing it today.
Capitalist VIP's on War and Imperialism
"Year by year it becomes apparent that the markets of the world must be kept open to American industries. We cannot extend our trade further than we are able to defend it. The rivalries that begin in commerce end on the battlefields."
(From statement issued in 1916 supporting Hughes for President, signed by 25 leading bankers and industrialists)
"This war, in its Inception, was a commercial and industrial war... The seed ... was hot, successful, commercial and industrial rivalry."
(President Wilson, 1919, in address on World War I)
"Whatever the outcome of the war [World War II], America has embarked on a career of imperialism, both in world affairs and in every other aspect of her life."
(Virgil Jordan, president of National Industrial Conference Board, 1940)
"The Department of Defense has refused a request of Senator J. W. Fulbright to declassify and make public a secret study on how the United States can 'maintain world hegemony in the future.' The study, completed two years ago by the Douglas Aircraft Corporation under Army sponsorship, was originally titled 'Pax Americana.' Later it was titled 'Strategic Alignments and Military Objectives.'"
(New York Times, Feb. 16, 1968)
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