“Time for a new Marshall Plan”

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*edit, Nov 15, 2016 – This needs tidying up. There won’t be any major changes to the content. I will add two links. One link will be to a Michael Parenti article that addresses the nonsense idea that Europe has been war-free since the Marshall Plan. Also, I turned a reference to Chris Hedges’s book, “Death Of The Liberal Class” into a link. It wasn’t originally there.

Time for a new Marshall Plan » StraightGoods.ca.

The following is an excerpt from the above linked-to article by Ish Theilheimer:

Besides deflecting future insurrections, the Plan’s purpose was to stop the spread of communism, which it did. It also made Germany the leading force in Europe’s economy again. Most importantly, there has been no war in Europe since then. Of course, the United Nations and European Union are part of that story too, but the key effects of the Plan are unprecedented and indisputable: it helped rebuild a war-devastated region, removed trade barriers, modernized industry and helped make Europe prosperous again.

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There’s probably more wrong with Ish’s statements than I’ve even realized. After his suggestion that there has been no war in Europe since World War Two, I can’t give Ish the benefit of doubt on any iffy thing he says, such as his NDP-sounding, glowing, ‘no negatives’ references to the Marshall Plan’s effects, including removing trade barriers. Fake progressives tend to suck and blow at the same time. It’s not possible, but they do it. The New Democratic Party, for example, not only succeeded in knocking aside (but not out) the Liberal Party, but they proceeded to duplicate it. Why? How? All I know is that 1. the corporatocracy, especially where it’s strong – developed nations like Canada for example – isn’t going to allow a people’s Party to exist and 2. too many people, in and out of politics, lack principles and can be bought off, easily or eventually. The late Jack Layton, who the corporate owned media loves, is lauded as a hero, but he took his Party (which was once a people’s Party called the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation) to the right, inviting Thomas Mulcair into the Party, making their common ‘jettison principles’ approach (in regard to language rights in Quebec) the basis for their continued exploration of Mulcair’s entry into the NDP.

“It was Layton’s bid to make the NDP an attractive new option for Quebec’s soft-nationalist francophones, and happened also to enhance the party’s appeal for Mulcair. Although he had been, along with [Julius] Grey, a prominent defender of English language rights, he accepted the Quebec government’s efforts to promote French…,” notes John Geddes in his Maclean’s article, below.

“Justin Trudeau, Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair buy into free-trade theory that doesn’t work” by Thomas Walkom

An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Thomas Walkom follows:

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Free trade is now orthodoxy in Canada. It used to be debated fiercely. It no longer is. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives embrace free trade. So does Justin Trudeau, the new Liberal leader. As part of their ongoing effort to pretend that they are not New Democrats, so do Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats. Ironically, all of this has occurred at precisely the time when events demonstrate that free trade deals don’t work as advertised.
= ==============================

Thomas, and any leftwing (or maybe the journos I’m referring to would prefer to be called left of center), journos writing for the Toronto Star, I’ve found, choose (for perhaps obvious reasons) to be very diplomatic in their language, sometimes to the point of getting it wrong. That observation no doubt applies to Canadian socialist writers and activists. Saying that the NDP is pretending that it isn’t the NDP presupposes that the NDP hasn’t become a rightwing Party. Thomas implies, I think, that the NDP is comprised of those who would go Left from where it is and those who would go Right, which is to say that it is schizophrenic. (Murray Dobbin is labelled an NDP sympathizer by another frequent contributor to Canadian Dimension magazine named Richard Fidler.) I don’t know how useful his tactic is. As far as I can tell, The NDP is steadily moving Right, period. If there are Party members who are trying to stop and reverse that, no one’s talking much about it, which tells me that such members don’t exist in any significant quantity.

“Reinventing Progressive Politics” by Murray Dobbin

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

We are so accustomed to the connection between political parties and democracy that to question the relationship between the two might seem absurd. But for those who recognize the multiple crises faced by humanity — the destruction of our environment, climate change, the ravages of unfettered finance capital, the undeniable limits to growth — the failure of our liberal, multi-party democracies seems increasingly obvious…

Two recent examples of the NDP taking advantage of political space created by social movement organizations demonstrate how it should work. Last year the NDP alarmed social activists with statements suggesting broad acceptance of corporate rights (“free trade”) deals, including the odious CETA deal with the EU. But recently, both Don Davies the NDP trade critic and Mulcair himself have come out clearly against the investor-state provisions of these deals — provisions that neutralize government’s capacity for legislation by allowing corporations to sue governments directly for laws that affect their profitability. That change followed effective grassroots campaigns against CETA and FIPA, the 31-year deal with China.

On the tax front the NDP has taken a strong position on the issue of tax havens. While this is an easy one to lead on (not even the Taxpayers Federation can find a way to defend crooks), the party’s position is strongly reinforced by an effective campaign by the group Canadians for Tax Fairness…

While these are positive signs for progressive politics, they are rearguard actions aimed primarily at stopping things from getting even worse…

It will require an enormous effort in both [movement and Party] camps which have institutionalized their approaches to politics to such an extent they cannot see the need for change. It is difficult to imagine the NDP suddenly returning to its CCF roots and once again becoming a movement rooted in community. History does not move backwards and there is no grassroots push within the NDP membership for developing a movement/party that actually engages ordinary citizens on a year round basis.

From Murray Cooke’s New Socialist Webzine article titled “Mulcair’s NDP: The New Liberal Party,” the following:

The mainstream media has taken notice and given Mulcair some nods of approval. In July, the British magazine, The Economist, which famously skewered former Liberal leader Paul Martin as Mr. Dithers, admitted that: “There are…tentative signs that the opposition is becoming more credible…Thomas Mulcair, has started well, imposing party discipline, dropping leftist talk and moving towards the centre.” This fall, Maclean’s magazine presented a long and rather glowing front-page profile of Mulcair. The profile provided an interesting discussion of his Liberal roots. Not only did he serve in the provincial cabinet of Jean Charest, but his parents were Liberals and his great-great-grandfather was Honoré Mercier, a Liberal premier of Quebec from 1887 to 1891. Furthermore, we are told that Claude Ryan, the former leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, was “Mulcair’s most influential mentor.” Obviously, the line that Mulcair was a provincial Liberal merely of convenience, since he’s a federalist, is a major understatement.

Recently, in the National Post, John Ivison admitted that “it’s hard to set up the NDP as a threat to civilization when they keep voting for the [Harper] government’s legislation.” As a result, Ivison suggested “the loony left is loony no longer.” Similarly, another Post columnist, Jonathan Kay, praised “today’s more disciplined, centrist NDP” for refusing to offer any support for former NDP MP Jim Manly, detained by Israeli authorities for his participation on the Canadian Boat to Gaza. Not surprisingly, New Democrats failed to stick their necks out to support Palestine during the recent Israeli assault on Gaza, offering only a vague call for a “balanced and constructive approach in the Middle East.”

On the economic policy front, Globe and Mail columnist Bruce Anderson has praised Mulcair for “shedding the party’s traditional orthodoxy” and taking “another large step towards the centre of the Canadian political spectrum” by supporting free trade deals with Jordan, the European Union, Japan and other countries.

With accolades coming from “friends” like this, it’s no wonder that many on the Left in Canada are less than thrilled by Mulcair’s leadership.

Murray Cooke is or was a member of CUPE local 3903, and, gulp, is a member of the NDP Party in Ontario), he writes, in “Layton’s Legacy And The NDP Leadership Race,” the following:

========= == =
“Smart, tough and nasty: the definitive portrait of Thomas Mulcair,” a Maclean’s Magazine article by John Geddes, appears to be a detailed look at Mulcair’s background. Take note that when Mulcair is being examined by those on the Right, he’s “left leaning.” When he’s being examined by those on the Left (which isn’t always very Leftwing), he’s “centrist” or “rightwing.”

Finally, Murray Dobbin will say a few final things about Mulcair in his article titled “Mourning Mulcair’s Win”:

There will be lots of soul searching and head scratching going on this week about what happened with the NDP leadership race. The mechanics of the convention, the interesting lack of deal-making, and how the balloting progressed are all fodder for those who enjoy going through the entrails of leadership conventions. Others will be analyzing the various campaigns of the frontrunners, looking for weaknesses to explain how they could collectively have let Thomas Mulcair, the right-wing Liberal, pro-Israel, political bully become head of their party.

Two things shocked me about this race and its final two days. The first is that so many NDPers, part of a tightly-knit, hyper-loyal political culture steeped in progressive values could so casually elect a man who contradicts so many of their principles. Besides the disastrous result for the party and all progressives in the country, the election of Mulcair raises profound questions about the health of the party.

I suspect that Ish Theilheimer is an NDP member and a Mulcair supporter. I don’t know that. But it would track. And that’s the state of the Left in Canada. Like the Liberal class which Chris Hedges writes about in “Death Of The Liberal Class,” the liberals (not Liberals, as in Liberal Party) who now make up the New Democratic Party, have sold their souls, or, as Chris would put it, they have morally and intellectually failed. (He quotes C. Wright Mills, who, interestingly, said that liberal intellectuals who become tools of the Right, whose utility lies in their intellectual gifts, eventually fail intellectually. Which sounds an awful lot like what I’ve been saying about darkness being it’s own reward. You might start out clever, when you dream up and execute your clever scam. But you’ve entered a dark realm. Your own light fades within it.)

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

Here’s essentially what I posted to Ish’s top of post article that was disappeared. I was astonished that Ish could say that there was no war in Europe after World War Two. Noam Chomsky is, as the New York Times (no friend of the Left) said, arguably the most important intellectual alive. And he’s a liberal who ‘has not’ sold his soul, which is not to say he’s perfect. He isn’t. Nor does he believe in God, but we’ll set that aside. In any case, he’s written over a hundred books, his theories in linguistics are what all linguists are either defending or opposing, but unable to ignore. He began his activist career protesting the Vietnam war and recently attached his name to Chris Hedges’s lawsuit against Barack Obama over Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). They won and they they lost.

From pages 3,4,12,13 of “The New Military Humanism – Lessons From Kosovo,” by Noam Chomsky, the following:

On March 24, U.S.-led NATO forces launched cruise missiles and bombs at targets throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), “plunging America into a military conflict that President Clinton said was necessary to stop ethnic cleansing and bring stability to Eastern Europe,” lead stories in the press reported. By bombing the FRY, Clinton informed the nation, “we are upholding our values, protecting our interests, and advancing the cause of peace.” “We cannot respond to such tragedies everywhere, but when ethnic conflict turns into ethnic cleansing where we can make a difference, we must try, and that is clearly the case in Kosovo.” “Had we faltered” in what the heading of his speech calls “A Just and Necessary War,” “the result would have been a moral and strategic disaster. The Albanian Kosovars would have become a people without a homeland, living in difficult conditions in some of the poorest countries in Europe…,” a fate that the U.S. cannot tolerate for suffering people. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had already sounded the alarm, declaring on February 1 “that this kind of thing cannot stand, that you cannot in 1999 have this kind of barbaric ethnic cleansing. It is ultimately better that democracies stand up against this kind of evil.”

Clinton’s European allies agreed. Under the heading “A New Generation Draws the Line,” British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared that this is a new kind of war in which we are fighting “for values,” for “a new internationalism were the brutal repression of whole ethnic groups will no longer be tolerated,” “for a world where those responsible for such crimes have no where to hide.” “We are fighting for a world where dictators are no long able to visit horrific punishments on their own peoples in order to stay in power.” We are entering “a new millennium where dictators know that they cannot get away with ethnic cleansing or repress their peoples with impunity.” German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer “became an advocate of what Ulrich Beck, a German intellectual, has called ‘NATO’s new military humanism’ – the notion, defended by Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, that the defense of human rights is a form of mission.”

“The New Interventionism” was hailed by intellectual opinion and legal scholars who proclaimed a new era in world affairs in which the “enlightened states” will at last be able to use force where they “believe it to be just,” discarding “the restrictive old rules” and obeying “modern notions of justice” that they fashion. “The crisis in Kosovo illustrates… America’s new willingness to do what it thinks right – international law notwithstanding.” Now freed from the shackles of the Cold War and old-fashioned constraints of world order, the enlightened states can dedicate themselves with full vigor to the mission of upholding human rights and bringing justice and freedom to suffering people everywhere, by force if necessary.

The enlightened states are the United States and its British associate, perhaps also others who enlist in their crusades for justice and human rights. Their mission is resisted only by “the defiant, the indolent, and the miscreant,” the “disorderly” elements of the world. The rank of enlightenment is apparently conferred by definition. One will search in vain for credible attempts to provide evidence or argument for the critical distinction between enlightened and disorderly, surely not from history. The history is in any event deemed irrelevant by the familiar doctrine of “change of course,” which holds that, Yes, in the past we have erred out of naiveté or faulty information, but now we are returning to the traditional path of righteousness. Examination of the record is nothing more than “sound-bites and invectives about Washington’s historically evil foreign policy,” hence “easy to ignore,” we are instructed by one of the most prominent scholar/advocates of the “emerging norms.” There is, accordingly, no purpose in asking what might be learned from old, musty stories about the past, even though the decision-making structure and its institutional base remain intact and unchanged…

…If we hope to understand anything about the world, in such particular cases [as the crisis faced by the Kosovo Albanians and Kurds of Turkey] we should ask why decisions on forceful intervention are made one way or another by the states with the power to exercise their judgment and will. The questions were raised at the outset of the recent revival of the thesis that the enlightened states should use force when they “believe it to be just” – “revival” is the right term, because of its well-known and distinguished origins. In the 1993 American Academy Conference on Emerging Norms, one of the most distinguished figures in the academic discipline of international relations, Ernest Haas, raised a simple and cogent question, which has since received a clear and instructive answer. He observed that NATO was then intervening in Iraq and Bosnia to protect Kurds and Muslims, and asked: “will NATO take the same interventionist view if and when Turkey begins to lean more heavily on its Kurdish insurgents?” The question poses a clear test of the New Humanism: Is it guided by power interests, or by humanitarian concern? Is the resort to force undertaken “in the name of principles and values,” as professed? Or are we witnessing something more crass and familiar?

The test was a good one, and the answer was not long in coming. As Haas raised the question, Turkey was leaning much more heavily on the Kurdish population of the Southeast while rejecting offers of peaceful settlement that would permit cultural and linguistic rights. Very shortly the operation escalated to extremes of ethnic cleansing and state terror. NATO took a very definite “interventionist view,” in particular NATO’s leader, which intervened decisively to escalate the atrocities. The ideological institutions adapted in the manner just illustrated, also following a familiar path.

Whoever disappeared my response to Ish’s article must have really enjoyed his- or herself. I did not copy and paste that above excerpt. I had typed it out from my copy of the book. It took some time.

In trying to find out a little more about Ish Theilheimer (who hides), I happened upon a website called “Progressive Bloggers.” If the links are anything to go by, this crowd is progressing rightward only. I came across a reference to Ish’s above article and was able to toss in a comment, which may or may not disappear, about how my online response to Ish’s article on The Straight Goods website was disappeared. What a bunch? If the 1% of the 99% dies – morally and intellectually fails – like the liberal class of which Chris Hedges speaks, What’s left?, because you can be sure that the 99% of the 99% isn’t going to resist the corporatocracy’s onslaught.

Hey Ish! What’s the miscreant Chomsky going on about here? Shouldn’t he tone it down? In any case, By now “Deterring Democracy” is just another musty, old history book that no one really needs. Right?:

From “Deterring Democracy,” the following:

By 1947, it was perceived that European recovery was foundering and that large-scale US initiatives were required for it to proceed along the desired lines. The first major policy initiative to this end was the Marshall Plan. In his comprehensive study of this program, Michael Hogan outlines its primary motivation as the encouragement of a European economic federation much like the United States, with over $2 billion annually in US aid in the early years “to avert ‘economic, social and political’ chaos in Europe, contain Communism (meaning not Soviet intervention but the success of indigenous Communist parties), prevent the collapse of America’s export trade, and achieve the goal of multilateralism.” Such an economic stimulus was required “to protect individual initiative and private enterprise both on the Continent and in the United States.” The alternative would be “experiments with socialist enterprise and government controls,” which would “jeopardize private enterprise” in the United States as well. A major concern was the “dollar gap,” which prevented Europe from purchasing US manufactured goods, with grave implications for the domestic economy.

The understanding that reconstruction of European (and Japanese) capitalism was essential to the health of the US economic order recapitulated the thinking of the Harding Administration after World War 1. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes, and other influential planners took it for granted that European economic recovery was essential for the expansion of American exports. “The prosperity of the United States,” Hughes declared in 1921, “largely depends upon economic settlements which may be made in Europe” – which required, of course, that the Bolshevist beast be slain, as the President had proclaimed.

“From a strategic and geopolitical viewpoint,” diplomatic historian Melvyn Leffler observes, “the impact of the Marshall Plan stretched beyond Europe.” Overcoming the dollar gap, “which had originally prompted the Marshall Plan,” required a restoration of the triangular trade patterns whereby Europe earned dollars through US purchase of raw materials from its colonies. Hence European (and Japanese) access to Third World markets and raw materials was an essential component of the general strategic planning, and a necessary condition for fulfillment of the general purposes of the Marshall Plan: to “benefit the American economy,” to “redress the European balance of power” in favor of US allies (state and class), and to “enhance American national security,” where “national security” is understood as “control of raw materials, industrial infrastructure, skilled manpower, and military bases.” The “strategic dimensions of the Marshall Plan,” Leffler continues, thus required that “revolutionary nationalism had to be thwarted outside Europe, just as the fight against indigenous communism had to be sustained inside Europe.” This was a difficult problem because of the prestige of the anti-Fascist resistance, often with a strong Communist element, and the discrediting of the traditional US allies in the business classes because of their association with fascism. Despite the “rhetorical commitment to self-determination,” US policy demanded that the former colonies retain their dependent role; the same might be said about the commitment to democracy, which, if more than rhetoric, would have meant that popular forces to which the US was opposed – Communists, radical democrats, labor, and so on – be permitted to play more than a token role in political and social life. Marshall Plan aid was used to coerce political choice, notably in Italy in 1948, and “to force Europe to soft-pedal welfare programs, limit wages, control inflation, and create an environment conducive for capital investment – part of it financed out of labor’s pocket” (Thomas McCormick).

From an early stage in the Cold War, and for deep-seated reasons, the United States was set on a course against self-determination and democracy, rhetorical commitments aside…” -pages 47 & 48

I just think that when ‘progressives’ choose to laud the Marshall Plan, they might spare a line or two of background to it so that people who don’t know might not get the idea that the world’s foremost enemy of democracy isn’t it’s foremost champion. Then again, That would depend on that particular progressive’s character. Is he fake or real?

From Michael Parenti’s article titled “The Nobel Peace Prize For War,” the following:

In October 2012, in all apparent seriousness, the Norwegian Nobel Committee (appointed by the Norwegian Parliament) bestowed the Nobel Peace Prize upon the European Union (EU). Let me say that again: the European Union with its 28 member states and 500 million inhabitants was awarded for having “contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe.” (Norway itself is not a member of the EU. The Norwegians had the good sense to vote against joining.)

Alfred Nobel’s will (1895) explicitly states that the peace prize should go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” The EU is not a person and has not worked for the abolition or reduction of standing armies or promotion of any kind of peace agenda…

The Nobel Committee, the EU recipients, and the western media all overlooked the 1999 full-scale air war launched on the European continent against Yugoslavia, a socialist democracy that for the most part had offered a good life to people of various Slavic nationalities – as many of them still testify today.

The EU did not oppose that aggression. In fact, a number of EU member states, including Germany and France, joined in the 1999 war on European soil led largely by the United States. For 78 days, U.S. and other NATO forces bombed Yugoslavian factories, utilities, power stations, rail systems, bridges, hotels, apartment buildings, schools and hospitals, killing thousands of civilians, all in the name of a humanitarian rescue operation, all fueled by unsubstantiated stories of Serbian “genocide.” All this warfare took place on European soil.

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