Somalia: The Real Causes of Famine

By MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY | GLOBALRESEARCH | FEBRUARY 21, 2013

For the last twenty years, Somalia has been entangled in a “civil war” amidst the destruction of both its rural and urban economies.

The country is now facing widespread famine.  According to reports, tens of thousands of people have died from malnutrition in the last few months. The lives of  several million people are threatened.

The mainstream media casually attributes the famine to a severe drought without examining the broader causes.

An atmosphere of  “lawlessness, gang warfare and anarchy” is also upheld as one of the major causes behind the famine.

But who is behind the lawlessness and armed gangs? 

Somalia is categorized as a “failed state”, a country without a government.

But how did it become a “failed state”? There is ample evidence of foreign intervention as well as covert support of armed militia groups. Triggering “failed states” is an integral part of US foreign policy. It is part of a military-intelligence agenda.

According to the UN, a situation of famine prevails in southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle, areas in part controlled by Al Shahab, a jihadist militia group affiliated to Al Qaeda.

Both the UN and the Obama administration had accused Al Shahab of imposing “a ban on foreign aid agencies in its territories in 2009″. What the reports do not mention, however, is that Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM) (“Movement of Striving Youth”) is funded by Saudi Arabia and supported covertly by Western intelligence agencies.

The backing of Islamic militia by Western intelligence agencies is part of a broader historical pattern of covert support to Al Qaeda affiliated and jihadist organizations in a number of countries, including, more recently, Libya and Syria.

The broader question is: What outside forces triggered the destruction of the Somali State in the early 1990s?

Somalia remained self-sufficient in food until the late 1970s despite recurrent droughts. As of the early 1980s, its national economy was destabilized and food agriculture was destroyed.

The process of economic dislocation preceded the onset of the civil war in 1991. Economic and social chaos resulting from IMF “economic medicine” had set the stage for the launching of a US sponsored “civil war”.  

An entire country with a rich history of commerce and economic development, was transformed into a territory.

In a bitter irony, this open territory encompasses significant oil wealth. Four US oil giants had already positioned themselves prior to the onset of the Somali civil war in 1991:

Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major U.S. oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali countryside.

According to documents obtained by The Times, nearly two-thirds of Somalia was allocated to the American oil giants Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips in the final years before Somalia’s pro-U.S. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown and the nation plunged into chaos in January, 1991. …

Officially, the Administration and the State Department insist that the U.S. military mission in Somalia is strictly humanitarian. Oil industry spokesmen dismissed as “absurd” and “nonsense” allegations by aid experts, veteran East Africa analysts and several prominent Somalis that President Bush [Senior], a former Texas oilman, was moved to act in Somalia, at least in part, by the U.S. corporate oil stake.

But corporate and scientific documents disclosed that the American companies are well positioned to pursue Somalia’s most promising potential oil reserves the moment the nation is pacified. And the State Department and U.S. military officials acknowledge that one of those oil companies has done more than simply sit back and hope for peace.

Conoco Inc., the only major multinational corporation to maintain a functioning office in Mogadishu throughout the past two years of nationwide anarchy, has been directly involved in the U.S. government’s role in the U.N.-sponsored humanitarian military effort.( The Oil Factor in Somalia : Four American petroleum giants had agreements with the African nation before its civil war began. They could reap big rewards if peace is restored. – Los Angeles Times 1993)

Somalia had been a colony of Italy and Britain. In 1969, a post-colonial government was formed under president Mohamed Siad Barre; major social programs in health and education were implemented, rural and urban infrastructure was developed in the course of the 1970s, significant social progress including a mass literacy program was achieved.  

The early 1980s marks a major turning point.

The IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program (SAP) was imposed on sub-Saharan Africa. The recurrent famines of the 1980s and 1990s are in large part the consequence of IMF-World Bank “economic medicine”.

In Somalia, ten years of IMF economic medicine laid the foundations for the country’s transition towards economic dislocation and social chaos.

By the late 1980s, following recurrent “austerity measures” imposed by the Washington consensus, wages in the public sector had collapsed to three dollars a month.

The IMF Intervention in the Early 1980s

Somalia was a pastoral economy based on “exchange” between nomadic herdsmen and small agriculturalists. Nomadic pastoralists accounted for 50 percent of the population. In the 1970s, resettlement programs led to the development of a sizeable sector of commercial pastoralism. Livestock contributed to 80 percent of export earnings until 1983. Despite recurrent droughts, Somalia remained virtually self-sufficient in food until the 1970s.

The IMF-World Bank intervention in the early 1980s contributed to exacerbating the crisis of Somali agriculture. The economic reforms undermined the fragile exchange relationship between the “nomadic economy” and the “sedentary economy” – i.e. between pastoralists and small farmers characterized by money transactions as well as traditional barter. A very tight austerity program was imposed on the government largely to release the funds required to service Somalia’s debt with the Paris Club. In fact, a large share of the external debt was held by the Washington-based financial institutions.’ According to an ILO mission report:

[T]he Fund alone among Somalia’s major recipients of debt service payments, refuses to reschedule. (…) De facto it is helping to finance an adjustment program, one of whose major goals is to repay the IMF itself.

Towards the Destruction of Food Agriculture

The structural adjustment program reinforced Somalia’s dependency on imported grain. From the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, food aid increased fifteen-fold, at the rate of 31 percent per annum.’ Combined with increased commercial imports, this influx of cheap surplus wheat and rice sold in the domestic market led to the displacement of local producers, as well as to a major shift in food consumption patterns to the detriment of traditional crops (maize and sorghum). The devaluation of the Somali shilling, imposed by the IMF in June 1981, was followed by periodic devaluations, leading to hikes in the prices of fuel, fertilizer and farm inputs. The impact on agricultural producers was immediate particularly in rain-fed agriculture, as well as in the areas of irrigated farming. Urban purchasing power declined dramatically, government extension programs were curtailed, infrastructure collapsed, the deregulation of the grain market and the influx of “food aid” led to the impoverishment of farming communities.’

Also, during this period, much of the best agricultural land was appropriated by bureaucrats, army officers and merchants with connections to the government.’ Rather than promoting food production for the domestic market, the donors were encouraging the development of so-called “high value-added” fruits, vegetables, oilseeds and cotton for export on the best irrigated farmland.

Collapse of the Livestock Economy

As of the early 1980s, prices for imported livestock drugs increased as a result of the depreciation of the currency. The World Bank encouraged the exaction of user fees for veterinarian services to the nomadic herdsmen, including the vaccination of animals. A private market for veterinary drugs was promoted. The functions performed by the Ministry of Livestock were phased out, with the Veterinary Laboratory Services of the ministry to be fully financed on a cost-recovery basis. According to the World Bank:

Veterinarian services are essential for livestock development in all areas, and they can be provided mainly by the private sector. (… Since few private veterinarians will choose to practice in the remote pastoral areas, improved livestock care will also depend on “para vets” paid from drug sales.’

The privatization of animal health was combined with the absence of emergency animal feed during periods of drought, the commercialization of water and the neglect of water and rangeland conservation. The results were predictable: the herds were decimated and so were the pastoralists, who represent 50 percent of the country’s population. The “hidden objective” of this program was to eliminate the nomadic herdsmen involved in the traditional exchange economy. According to the World Bank, “adjustments” in the size of the herds are, in any event, beneficial because nomadic pastoralists in sub-Saharan Africa are narrowly viewed as a cause of environmental degradation.”

The collapse in veterinarian services also indirectly served the interests of the rich countries: in 1984, Somalian cattle exports to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries plummeted as Saudi beef imports were redirected to suppliers from Australia and the European Community. The ban on Somali livestock imposed by Saudi Arabia was not, however, removed once the rinderpest disease epidemic had been eliminated.

Destroying the State

The restructuring of government expenditure under the supervision of the Bretton Woods institutions also played a crucial role in destroying food agriculture. Agricultural infrastructure collapsed and recurrent expenditure in agriculture declined by about 85 percent in relation to the mid-1970s.”

The Somali government was prevented by the IMF from mobilizing domestic resources. Tight targets for the budget deficit were set. Moreover, the donors increasingly provided “aid”, not in the form of imports of capital and equipment, but in the form of “food aid”. The latter would in turn be sold by the government on the local market and the proceeds of these sales (i.e. the so-called “counterpart funds”) would be used to cover the domestic costs of development projects. As of the early 1980s, “the sale of food aid” became the principal source of revenue for the state, thereby enabling donors to take control of the entire budgetary process.”

The economic reforms were marked by the disintegration of health and educational programmes.’3 By 1989, expenditure on health had declined by 78 percent in relation to its 1975 level. According to World Bank figures, the level of recurrent expenditure on education in 1989 was about US$ 4 Per annum per primary school student down from about $ 82 in 1982. From 1981 to 1989, school enrolment declined by 41 percent (despite a sizeable increase in the population of school age), textbooks and school materials disappeared from the class-rooms, school buildings deteriorated and nearly a quarter of the primary schools closed down. Teachers’ salaries declined to abysmally low levels.

The IMF-World Bank program has led the Somali economy into a vicious circle: the decimation of the herds pushed the nomadic pastoralists into starvation which in turn backlashes on grain producers who sold or bartered their grain for cattle. The entire social fabric of the pastoralist economy was undone. The collapse in foreign exchange earnings from declining cattle exports and remittances (from Somali workers in the Gulf countries) backlashed on the balance of payments and the state’s public finances leading to the breakdown of the government’s economic and social programs.

Small farmers were displaced as a result of the dumping of subsidized US grain on the domestic market combined with the hike in the price of farm inputs. The impoverishment of the urban population also led to a contraction of food consumption. In turn, state support in the irrigated areas was frozen and production in the state farms declined. The latter were slated to be closed down or privatized under World Bank supervision.

According to World Bank estimates, real public-sector wages in 1989 had declined by 90 percent in relation to the mid-1970s. Average wages in the public sector had fallen to US$ 3 a month, leading to the inevitable disintegration of the civil administration.” A program to rehabilitate civil service wages was proposed by the World Bank (in the context of a reform of the civil service), but this objective was to be achieved within the same budgetary envelope by dismissing some 40 percent of public-sector employees and eliminating salary supplements.” Under this plan, the civil service would have been reduced to a mere 25,000 employees by 1995 (in a country of six million people). Several donors indicated keen interest in funding the cost associated with the retrenchment of civil servants.”

In the face of impending disaster, no attempt was made by the international donor community to rehabilitate the country’s economic and social infrastructure, to restore levels of purchasing power and to rebuild the civil service: the macro-economic adjustment measures proposed by the creditors in the year prior to the collapse of the government of General Siyad Barre in January 1991 (at the height of the civil war) called for a further tightening over public spending, the restructuring of the Central Bank, the liberalization of credit (which virtually thwarted the private sector) and the liquidation and divestiture of most of the state enterprises.

In 1989, debt-servicing obligations represented 194.6 percent of export earnings. The IMF’s loan was cancelled because of Somalia’s outstanding arrears. The World Bank had approved a structural adjustment loan for US$ 70 million in June 1989 which was frozen a few months later due to Somalia’s poor macro-economic performance. ’7 Arrears with creditors had to be settled before the granting of new loans and the negotiation of debt rescheduling. Somalia was tangled in the straightjacket of debt servicing and structural adjustment.

Famine Formation in sub-Saharan Africa:  The Lessons of Somalia

Somalia’s experience shows how a country can be devastated by the simultaneous application of food “aid” and macro-economic policy. There are many Somalias in the developing world and the economic reform package implemented in Somalia is similar to that applied in more than 100 developing countries. But there is another significant dimension: Somalia is a pastoralist economy, and throughout Africa both nomadic and commercial livestock are being destroyed by the IMF-World Bank program in much the same way as in Somalia. In this context, subsidized beef and dairy products imported (duty free) from the European Union have led to the demise of Africa’s pastoral economy. European beef imports to West Africa have increased seven-fold since 1984: “the low quality EC beef sells at half the price of locally produced meat. Sahelian farmers are finding that no-one is prepared to buy their herds”.”

The experience of Somalia shows that famine in the late 20th century is not a consequence of a shortage of food. On the contrary, famines are spurred on as a result of a global oversupply of grain staples. Since the 1980s, grain markets have been deregulated under the supervision of the World Bank and US grain surpluses are used systematically as in the case of Somalia to destroy the peasantry and destabilize national food agriculture. The latter becomes, under these circumstances, far more vulnerable to the vagaries of drought and environmental degradation.

Throughout the continent, the pattern of “sectoral adjustment” in agriculture under the custody of the Bretton Woods institutions has been unequivocally towards the destruction of food security. Dependency vis-à-vis the world market has been reinforced, “food aid” to sub-Saharan Africa increased by more than seven times since 1974 and commercial grain imports more than doubled. Grain imports for sub-Saharan Africa expanded from 3.72 million tons in 1974 to 8.47 million tons in 1993. Food aid increased from 910,000 tons in 1974 to 6.64 million tons in l993.

“Food aid”, however, was no longer earmarked for the drought-stricken countries of the Sahelian belt; it was also channeled into countries which were, until recently, more or less self-sufficient in food. Zimbabwe (once considered the bread basket of Southern Africa) was severely affected by the famine and drought which swept Southern Africa in 1992. The country experienced a drop of 90 percent in its maize crop, located largely in less productive lands.” Yet, ironically, at the height of the drought, tobacco for export (supported by modem irrigation, credit, research, etc.) registered a bumper harvest. While “the famine forces the population to eat termites”, much of the export earnings from Zimbabwe’s tobacco harvest were used to service the external debt.

Under the structural adjustment program, farmers have increasingly abandoned traditional food crops; in Malawi, which was once a net food exporter, maize production declined by 40 percent in 1992 while tobacco output doubled between 1986 and 1993. One hundred and fifty thousand hectares of the best land was allocated to tobacco .2′ Throughout the 1980s, severe austerity measures were imposed on African governments and expenditures on rural development drastically curtailed, leading to the collapse of agricultural infrastructure. Under the World Bank program, water was to become a commodity to be sold on a cost-recovery basis to impoverished farmers. Due to lack of funds, the state was obliged to withdraw from the management and conservation of water resources. Water points and boreholes dried up due to lack of maintenance, or were privatized by local merchants and rich farmers. In the semi-arid regions, this commercialization of water and irrigation leads to the collapse of food security and famine.

Concluding Remarks

While “external” climatic variables play a role in triggering off a famine and heightening the social impact of drought, famines in the age of globalization are man-made. They are not the consequence of a scarcity of food but of a structure of global oversupply which undermines food security and destroys national food agriculture. Tightly regulated and controlled by international agri-business, this oversupply is ultimately conducive to the stagnation of both production and consumption of essential food staples and the impoverishment of farmers throughout the world. Moreover, in the era of globalization, the IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program bears a direct relationship to the process of famine formation because it systematically undermines all categories of economic activity, whether urban or rural, which do not directly serve the interests of the global market system.

When Firearms are Confiscated, Innocents are Betrayed

JPFO | DECEMBER 27, 2012

In the history of the 20th Century, there were zero wars between what we would term “democratic” countries. The wars that killed so many millions involved either (1) non-democratic vs. democratic countries, or (2) non-democratic vs. nondemocratic countries.

Governments mass murdered their own citizens, or civilians under their control (as with occupation), in numbers exceeding 170,000,000 in the 20th Century alone. Over 95% of those killed were murdered by nondemocratic governments.

The mass murder of at least 70,000,000 (perhaps many millions more) civilians (men, women and children) by governments in the 20th Century occurred in nations where “gun control” ideas and laws had taken a strong hold.

Three Elements For Human Suffering Hold the above facts in mind, and consider this three-element formula for horrific human suffering:

(1) Evil exists in the world. This concept sounds obvious, but actually there are legions of people, many of them highly-educated and highly-placed, who believe that “bad things happen because there is too much inequality of wealth and not enough education.” Many of these people cannot accept the idea that Evil exists and that people are capable of doing Evil. They prefer the “poverty, disease, and ignorance” explanation
for bad behavior.

If the concept of Evil needs proof, then consider just a few examples of terrible things done by people who are not poor and not ignorant: (a) when government leaders develop written plans to persecute and exterminate a disfavored group, and then carry them out; (b) when a parent methodically goes from room to room strangling or drowning or stabbing several children; (c) when a young adult straps on a bomb and boards a city bus carrying people to work or school, detonates the bomb, and kills dozens of the people
and seriously maims dozens more.

(2) Imbalance of Power Creates Opportunities for Evil. This point should be obvious, too. On the micro level, consider the Carlie Bruscia case. Remember how a security video camera caught the act of the predator contacting Carlie, then grabbing her by the wrist and taking her away. This is just one example, but it makes the point. Carlie was 12. The predator was 35 or so and a strong male. The predator was probably three times a strong as Carlie, plus he had a plan and a motivation. Carlie had much less strength and no plan for defense. It was nearly a sure thing that the predator would win.

Carlie was brutally raped and murdered.

Consider the recent case where Iraqi terrorists shot down in cold blood a whole bus load of women and children. The victims were powerless compared to the terrorists. All it took then was an Evil idea, and the victims being selected. The power advantage of the aggressors made the rest easy.

Now on the macro level. The Framers of the U.S. Constitution worked to ensure that there was no great imbalance of power among the branches of government. In each branch of our Constitutional government there are checks and balances. Where government systems have checks and balances, and where these operate with open discussion and competition for votes, you have the sort of “democratic” society that rarely makes war on another “democratic” society. As Professor Rummel pointed out, unbalanced political power within nations is a major factor in the outbreak of wars between nations.

(3) Betrayal of Trust Multiplies the Results of Evil. This point is much more subtle because most of us do not want to think about it. It’s too painful. On the micro level, consider the doctor or nurse or medic who starts killing the patients. One doctor in Britain was believed to have murdered some 35 patients (he killed himself in jail). A male nurse in the Pacific Northwest also terminated dozens of patients. How could this happen?

Notice: in addition to the Evil idea and the imbalance of power, these victims had put themselves into a position of dependence. The patients submitted themselves willingly to the potential killer. They trusted the doctor or nurse – they willingly gave up their self defense – they created the imbalance of power – and placed their lives at the mercy of the supposed caregiver and protector. When an Evil idea formed in the minds of the caregivers and protectors, then the killing was next.

This terrible result is worse than just murder because it involves the evil of taking advantage of someone who has placed his or her trust in the killer. Many of the Jews who boarded trains bound for death camps in Nazi Germany could not allow themselves to believe that their own countrymen, their own police and army, would betray them so fatally. Children and teens often fail to even try to resist a child molester or kidnapper, because the children cannot grasp that a trusted adult could turn against them.

The Effects of Civilian Disarmament Ideas

Now you have the basic groundwork. Next, consider “gun control” ideas and laws. To the extent that “gun control” causes any results, those results are:

(1) The non-evil, peaceful, law-abiding people will be discouraged from owning, carrying, using, and even learning more about or practicing with firearms. “Gun control” laws act to discourage firearms ownership and use by making it more expensive, embarrassing, difficult, or legally risky to have and use guns.

(2) “Gun control” laws do not decrease the incidence of Evil – not one bit. Gun control laws discourage people, or impose costs on people – but they do not affect evil minds and evil intentions.

(3) “Gun control” laws encourage people to render themselves less powerful. Turn in guns, not own guns, avoid guns, learn little or nothing about guns. “Gun control” laws work only in the direction of causing law-abiding people to reduce their personal defense power.

(4) “Gun control” laws thus make it necessary for people to rely upon their government or private defense providers. For most people, hiring a private body guard or other security service that would come anywhere close to the effectiveness of being personally armed, is too expensive. So most people depend upon their government police and upon dialing Emergency 911.

(5) The more Draconian the “gun control” laws and policies, the more it is likely the civilians are unarmed.

(6) When a government takes power with evil intentions, and extensive “gun control” laws are in place, then you have the set-up for destruction. Most of the people have obeyed the laws and placed their self-defense trust in their governments. The people are relatively we ak. Meanwhile, the aggressors are mostly undeterred by gun control laws. The aggressors would include street criminals, organized crime, and government agencies (e.g. the Nazi SS, the Soviet KGB, various death squads). In fact, the government agencies are usually specifically exempted from the “gun control” laws.

So, there are deliberate programs of persecution by government, as in Nazi Germany or in Soviet Russia / Ukraine or in Cambodia. There are cultures of civilian powerlessness as in China during the Japanese invasion and rape of Nanking in 1937. There is the malign neglect that allows armed parties to raid and attack defenseless people, as in El Salvador and Uganda. In all cases, the imbalance of power, coupled with the people’s helpless dependence upon the same entity that doesn’t mind if they get killed or enslaved, produces the worst human suffering imaginable.

How Can An Armed Society Help?

Now, you may ask: “Yes, but what difference would it make if the people were armed?” The answer is pretty simple: even evil people calculate the costs. Bad guys rob convenience stores and pizza delivery guys whom they know are unarmed. Bad guys do not rob gun stores nor do they burgle police stations, because the criminal’s personal risk of getting caught and killed is too high.1

It is known that Nazi Germany did not invade Switzerland largely because the Nazis did not want to invest a lot of machinery and manpower to subjugate a nation that was civilian-armed to the teeth.2 Similarly, historians tell us that the Imperial Japanese military leaders did not want to invade the United States during World War II because they knew they would encounter fierce resistance from armed citizens.3

Remember that human beings are the ones who carry out orders. People calculate risks. Even though there is a lot of crime and lots of criminals infesting certain parts of Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. (for example), the police will not go to those parts of town without backup. And in some areas, they will not go at all –certainly not at night.

We learn from all of these examples that armed civilians can deter even armed government functionaries.
Likewise, in the Iraq War, the American military chooses to deploy its forces in a manner less likely to result in American casualties. Thus, the American military does not blindly attempt to move into some towns and regions where they know the civilian resisters (“insurgents”) are armed and dangerous.

We therefore learn from modern military history that even powerful armies steer clear of armed and motivated civilian populations. All of these facts and observations suggest the following conclusion:
When a civilian population widely possesses firearms such as rifles, shotguns and handguns, along with ammunition for them, and the population has the training with the weapons along with the ethic of self defense, then the population is very unlikely to be conquered and persecuted either by their own government or by an invading force.

This conclusion means that lives are saved and human suffering is avoided when the population generally undertakes to prepare for its own armed defense. Stated simply: an armed population saves lives.
The data from the 20th Century suggest that millions of non-combatant lives were lost to genocide and persecution, because (a) the afflicted populations were tremendously underpowered compared to the killers, (b) the population relied solely upon their government to protect them, and (c) the government protectors either failed or actively turned against the populations.

Can All Evil Be Prevented?

Is an armed population absolutely safe from all invasion and persecution? No. But we have to consider the incentives of the aggressors. The better question is: will an invader or persecutor be more likely or less likely to attack an armed civilian population? Or, given a choice, would an invader or persecutor more often choose to afflict an armed population or an unarmed population?

It is possible to imagine scenarios where an armed population cannot do anything to protect itself against nuclear attack, for example. Such scenarios suggest only that no defense strategy is perfect, and that Evil can find a way to hurt and kill people. Overall, however, an armed population stands a much better chance of freedom from attack, persecution and slaughter than does an unarmed population.

History shows that Evil forces look for populations to enslave and annihilate. Evil selects those populations where it can operate with the least cost to itself. It is thus both a moral and practical imperative for populations to possess and learn to effectively use firearms for defense of self, family, community, and nation.

We hope this answers your question about the need and effectiveness of widespread private ownership of firearms.

Watch the film Innocents Betrayed below:

Resources

(1) Innocents Betrayed – the video documentary – makes a strong case because it presents the pictures and the flesh and blood reality of how the powerful can so easily destroy the powerless. It shows also how “gun control” laws are instrumental in paving the way for destruction.

(2) Death by Gun Control: The Human Cost of Victim Disarmament is our book upon which Innocents Betrayed is based. The book does not talk about the Second Amendment – it talks about the problem of disarmed citizens vs. powerful forces, and it develops further how the rhetoric of “gun control” leads to a deadly physical and moral paralysis.

(3) Death by Government, by Professor R.J. Rummel, takes a different tack from our book. While our book focuses on the civilian disarmament issues, Prof. Rummel looks at the political systems that create the situations that make genocides and mass persecutions possible … even inevitable.

Iraq: Victim or Beneficiary of September 11 attacks?

By Waleed Ibrahim
Reuters
September 9, 2011

(Reuters) – Ten years after the hijacked airliner attacks on the United States, Iraqis are swamped in the violent wake of a war launched on a tenuous premise and uncertain if they are headed to democracy or dictatorship.

While the sectarian slaughter that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war is years past, the violence spawned by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein continues to take a heavy toll in an oil-rich former pariah trying to rebuild.

To this day, some Iraqis believe the line drawn by the Bush administration between September 11 and Iraq, and its discredited theory that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, belied a darker U.S. desire for control in the Middle East.

“Please don’t deceive people and say what happened in Iraq was due to September 11th. America’s plan to occupy Iraq is old,” said Ahmed Raheem, 40, the owner of an electrical shop in Baghdad. “What happened on September 11th was just a reason to implement this plan.”

While the invasion of Afghanistan marked Washington’s first foray in retaliation for the attacks on New York’s twin towers and the Pentagon, Iraq became the primary battlefield for then- President George W. Bush’s “war on terror.” Islamist militants moved in by the thousands to engage U.S. troops.

More than eight years after American soldiers pulled down Saddam’s statue in Baghdad’s Firdous Square, an event cast as a first step from dictatorship to democracy, casualties of the war continue to mount as Iraq’s rebuilt police and army struggle to contain a lethal Islamist insurgency.

The United States has lost more than 4,400 troops in Iraq, a toll half again as great as that of September 11. Fifty-six of those deaths followed President Barack Obama’s August 31, 2010 end-of-combat declaration, seen by some Americans as the end of the war.

“A BIG LIE”

“What democracy are they talking about?” Raheem, who lost his job at a Saddam-era government weapons manufacturer after the invasion, asked angrily as he sipped tea in his shop. “What is said about democracy is a big lie.”

War-weary Iraqis appear anxious to put eight years of violence behind them. Protests earlier this year inspired by uprisings across the Arab world were aimed not at deposing their elected government but rather to serve notice that they expected their politicians to improve electricity and services.

Violence is slowly loosening its grip. From the sectarian bloodbath that killed tens of thousands at the peak of the war in 2006-07, attacks by Sunni insurgents and Shi’ite militias have fallen to an average of about 14 a day across the country.

Night-life and traffic have returned to Baghdad streets still dominated by massive concrete blast walls meant to protect against suicide and car bombs. But with the sound of explosions heard daily, Iraqis venture forth warily.

“Nothing has changed in Iraq except the fear. Now it is bigger than before. I leave my house and I don’t know if I’ll return again or not,” said Tony Mukhlis, 45, a Baghdad laborer.

“U.S. democracy in Iraq is the democracy of killing in the streets.”

If the United States won sympathy in 2001 as video of the crumbling twin towers appeared on TV screens, it was the image of erupting violence in Iraq and shocking photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison that stained America’s standing in the world.

For some Iraqis, a war that has killed more than 100,000 people — according to figures compiled by Iraq Body Count — created a battlefield for extremists where none existed before.

“If there is anyone responsible for the damage in Iraq, it is Bush. I swear to God I’ll kill him with my own hands if I catch him, even if they kill my family and children,” Mukhlis said. “He himself said more than once that he would go to Iraq to protect Americans and to turn Iraq into a battlefield against radical groups.”

SIGNS OF PROGRESS

Now governed by a fragile and contentious coalition of Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish political factions, Iraq has held free elections and implemented free market reforms, cutting deals with global oil majors to develop its vast oil reserves.

Such measures of post-war progress are not lost on some Iraqis.

“Iraq is the big beneficiary for what happened in the U.S. on September 11th because it saved us from a nightmare that was perched on our chest for more than 30 years,” said Nief Farhan, 82, a retiree who said he had two brothers executed by Saddam’s government in 1983.

“Before 2003 I was afraid to talk in my own house … now we are sitting in a cafe and talking politics and people around us listen to what we say. What more do we want?”

But as they watch the Arab Spring uprisings with interest and some envy, many Iraqis are uncertain their country will become the shining Middle East democracy that Bush envisioned.

“I don’t believe that what happened in Iraq in and after 2003 can be an example to be cited or copied by other regional and Arab countries,” said Yahya al-Kubaisy, a researcher at the Iraqi Center For Strategic Studies.

“Iraq is on a path of dictatorship different from what existed in Iraq before 2003. Even the advocates for what was called the liberation of Iraq are disappointed at how things turned out.”

No UN mandate was approved to attack Libya

Reuters
March 28, 2011

Russia said on Monday attacks on forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi amounted to intervention in a civil war and were not backed by the U.N. resolution authorising no-fly zones.

In the latest Russian criticism of military action by the Western-led coalition, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the resolution passed by the U.N. Security Council on March 17 had the sole aim of protecting Libyan civilians.

“And yet there are reports — and nobody denies them — of coalition strikes on columns of Gaddafi’s forces, reports about support for actions by the armed insurgents,” Lavrov said. “There are clear contradictions here.”

“We consider that intervention by the coalition in what is essentially an internal civil war is not sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council resolution,” Lavrov said when asked about Libya at a news conference with the Kyrgyz foreign minister.

Russia has veto power as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council but chose not to block the resolution, which authorised “all necessary measures to enforce compliance” with no-fly zones.

However, Russian leaders have expressed concern that the resolution gave coalition forces too much leeway and the intervention was causing civilian deaths. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin compared the resolution to “medieval calls for crusades”.

Lavrov did not say whether Russia would make any effort to restrict operations by the coalition, which is now led by NATO.

In Paris, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman said “the coalition of participating countries is strictly complying with the terms” of the resolution and the U.N. secretary-general was regularly informed of the measures being taken.

Lavrov’s remarks, hours before U.S. President Barack Obama was expected to define the mission’s purpose and scope in an address, suggested Russia could step up criticism if the coalition took steps Moscow believed went further beyond its mandate.

In Libya, rebels emboldened by Western-led air strikes against Gaddafi’s forces pushed west along the Mediterranean coast to retake a series of towns.

Obama’s administration has praised Russia for allowing the resolution to go through but has clashed with the Kremlin over the subject of civilian casualties.

In Moscow last week, U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said some Russians seemed to take what he termed Gaddafi’s “lies” about civilian casualties at face value.

Lavrov reiterated Russia’s concern about reports of civilian casualties, which he said had not yet been confirmed, and indicated Russia wanted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special envoy Abdelilah Al-Khatib to look into them.

Lavrov said Russia’s concerns about the broad authority granted to foreign powers enforcing the no-fly zone were among the reasons it abstained in the Security Council vote.

Robber Barons, Revolution, and Social Control

The Century of Social Engineering, Part 1

By Andrew Gavin Marshall
March 10, 2011

Introduction

In Part 1 of this series, “The Century of Social Engineering,” I briefly document the economic, political and social background to the 20th century in America, by taking a brief look at the major social upheavals of the 19th century. For an excellent and detailed examination of this history, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States  (which provided much of the research for this article) is perhaps the most expansive and detailed examination. I am not attempting to serve it justice here, as there is much left out of this historically examination than there is included.

The purpose of this essay is to examine first of all the rise of class and labour struggle throughout the United States in the 19th century, the rise and dominance of the ‘Robber Baron’ industrialists like J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, their convergence of interests with the state, and finally to examine the radical new philosophies and theories that arose within the radicalized and activated populations, such as Marxism and Anarchism. I do not attempt to provide exhaustive or comprehensive analyses of these theoretical and philosophical movements, but rather provide a brief glimpse to some of the ideas (particularly those of anarchism), and place them in the historical context of the mass struggles of the 19th century.

Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan are three of a handful world lords who founded the current social state of affairs.

America’s Class Struggle

Unbeknownst to most Americans – and for that matter, most people in general – the United States in the 19th century was in enormous upheaval, following on the footsteps of the American Revolution, a revolution which was directed by the landed elite in the American colonies, a new revolutionary spirit arose in the working class populace. The 19th century, from roughly the 1830s onwards, was one great long labour struggle in America.

In the early decades of the 19th century, Eastern capitalists in America began to expand to the West, “and it became important to keep that new West, tumultuous and unpredictable, under control.”[1] The new capitalists favoured monopolization over competition as a method of achieving ‘stability’ and “security to your own property.” The state played its traditional role in securing business interests, as state legislatures gave charters to corporations, granting them legal charters, and “between 1790 and 1860, 2,300 corporations were chartered.”[2] However, as Howard Zinn wrote in A People’s History of the United States:

The attempts at political stability, at economic control, did not quite work. The new industrialism, the crowded cities, the long hours in the factories, the sudden economic crises leading to high prices and lost jobs, the lack of food and water, the freezing winters, the hot tenements in the summer, the epidemics of disease, the deaths of children – these led to sporadic reactions from the poor. Sometimes there were spontaneous, unorganized uprisings against the rich. Sometimes the anger was deflected into racial hatred for blacks, religious warfare against Catholics, nativist fury against immigrants. Sometimes it was organized into demonstrations and strikes.[3]

In the 1830s, “episodes of insurrection” were taking place amid the emergence of unions. Throughout the century, it was with each economic crisis that labour movements and rebellious sentiments would develop and accelerate. Such was the case with the 1837 economic crisis, caused by the banks and leading to rising prices. Rallies and meetings started taking place in several cities, with one rally numbering 20,000 people in Philadelphia. That same year, New York experienced the Flour Riot. With a third of the working class – 50,000 people – out of work in New York alone, and nearly half of New York’s 500,000 people living “in utter and hopeless distress,” thousands of protesters rioted, ultimately leading to police and troops being sent in to crush the protesters.[4]

In 1835 there had been a successful general strike in Philadelphia, where fifty trade unions had organized in favour of a ten-hour work day. In this context, political parties began creating divides between workers and lower class people, as antagonisms developed between many Protestants and Catholics. Thus, middle class politicians “led each group into a different political party (the nativists into the American Republican party, the Irish into the Democratic party), party politics and religion now substituting for class conflict.”[5]

Another economic crisis took place in 1857, and in 1860, a Mechanics Association was formed, demanding higher wages, and called for a strike. Within a week, strikes spread from Lynn, Massachusetts, to towns across the state and into New Hampshire and Maine, “with Mechanics Associations in twenty-five towns and twenty thousand shoe-workers on strike,” marking the largest strike prior to the Civil War.[6] Yet, “electoral politics drained the energies of the resisters into the channels of the system.” While European workers were struggling for economic justice and political democracy, American workers had already achieved political democracy, thus, “their economic battles could be taken over by political parties that blurred class lines.”[7]

The Civil War (1861-1865) served several purposes. First of all, the immediate economic considerations: the Civil War sought to create a single economic system for America, driven by the Eastern capitalists in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, uniting with the West against the slave-labour South. The aim was not freedom for black slaves, but rather to end a system which had become antiquated and unprofitable. With the Industrial Revolution driving people into cities and mechanizing production, the notion of slavery lost its appeal: it was simply too expensive and time consuming to raise, feed, house, clothe and maintain slaves; it was thought more logical and profitable (in an era obsessed with efficiency) to simply pay people for the time they engage in labour. The Industrial Revolution brought with it the clock, and thus time itself became a commodity. As slavery was indicative of human beings being treated as commodities to be bought and sold, owned and used, the Industrial Revolution did not liberate people from servitude and slavery, it simply updated the notions and made more efficient the system of slavery: instead of purchasing people, they would lease them for the time they can be ‘productive’.

Living conditions for the workers and the vast majority, however, were not very different from the conditions of slavery itself. Thus, as the Civil War was sold to the public on the notion of liberating the slaves in the South, the workers of the North felt betrayed and hateful that they must be drafted and killed for a war to liberate others when they themselves were struggling for liberation. Here, we see the social control methods and reorganizing of society that can take place through war, a fact that has always existed and remains today, made to be even more prescient with the advances in technology. During the Civil War, the class conflict among the working people of the United States transformed into a system where they were divided against each other, as religious and racial divisions increasingly erupted in violence. With the Conscription Act of 1863, draft riots erupted in several Northern U.S. cities, the most infamous of which was the New York draft riots, when for three days mobs of rioters attacked recruiting stations, wealthy homes, destroying buildings and killing blacks. Roughly four hundred people were killed after Union troops were called into the city to repress the riots.[8] In the South, where the vast majority of people were not slave owners, but in fact poor white farmers “living in shacks or abandoned outhouses, cultivating land so bad the plantation owners had abandoned it,” making little more than blacks for the same work (30 cents a day for whites as opposed to 20 cents a day for blacks). When the Southern Confederate Conscription Law was implemented in 1863, anti-draft riots erupted in several Southern cities as well.[9]

When the Civil War ended in 1865, hundreds of thousands of soldiers returned to squalor conditions in the major cities of America. In New York alone, 100,000 people lived in slums. These conditions brought a surge in labour unrest and struggle, as 100,000 went on strike in New York, unions were formed, with blacks forming their own unions. However, the National Labour Union itself suppressed the struggle for rights as it focused on ‘reforming’ economic conditions (such as promoting the issuance of paper money), “it became less an organizer of labor struggles and more a lobbyist with Congress, concerned with voting, it lost its vitality.”[10]

The Robber Barons Against Americans

In 1873, another major economic crisis took place, setting off a great depression. Yet, economic crises, while being harmful to the vast majority of people, increasing prices and decreasing jobs and wages, had the effect of being very beneficial to the new industrialists and financiers, who use crisis as an opportunity to wipe out competition and consolidate their power. Howard Zinn elaborated:

The crisis was built into a system which was chaotic in its nature, in which only the very rich were secure. It was a system of periodic crisis – 1837, 1857, 1873 (and later: 1893, 1907, 1919, 1929) – that wiped out small businesses and brought cold, hunger, and death to working people while the fortunes of the Astors, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Morgans, kept growing through war and peace, crisis and recovery. During the 1873 crisis, Carnegie was capturing the steel market, Rockefeller was wiping out his competitors in oil.[11]

In 1877, a nation-wide railroad strike took place, infuriating the major railroad barons, particularly J.P. Morgan, offered to lend money to pay army officers to go in and crush the strikes and get the trains moving, which they managed to accomplish fairly well. Strikes took place and soldiers were sent in to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Indiana, with the whole city of Philadelphia in uproar, with a general strike emerging in Pittsburgh, leading to the deployment of the National Guard, who often shot and killed strikers. When all was said and done, a hundred people were dead, a thousand people had gone to jail, 100,000 workers had gone on strike, and the strikes had roused into action countless unemployed in the cities.[12] Following this period, America underwent its greatest spur of economic growth in its history, with elites from both North and South working together against workers and blacks and the majority of people:

They would do it with the aid of, and at the expense of, black labor, white labor, Chinese labor, European immigrant labor, female labor, rewarding them differently by race, sex, national origin, and social class, in such a way as to create separate levels of oppression – a skillful terracing to stabilize the pyramid of wealth.[13]

The bankers and industrialists, particularly Morgan, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Mellon and Harriman, saw enormous increases in wealth and power. At the turn of the century, as Rockefeller moved from exclusively interested in oil, and into iron, copper, coal, shipping, and banking (with Chase Manhattan Bank, now J.P. Morgan Chase), his fortune would equal $2 billion. The Morgan Group also had billions in assets.[14] In 1900, Andrew Carnegie agreed to sell his steel company to J.P. Morgan for $492 million.[15]

Public sentiment at this time, however, had never been so anti-Capitalist and spiteful of the great wealth amassed at the expense of all others. The major industrialists and bankers firmly established their control over the political system, firmly entrenching the two party system through which they would control both parties. Thus, “whether Democrats or Republicans won, national policy would not change in any important way.”[16] Labour struggles had continued and exacerbated throughout the decades following the Civil War. In 1893, another economic depression took place, and the country was again plunged into social upheaval.

The Supreme Court itself was firmly overtaken by the interests of the new elite. Shortly after the Fourteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution to protect newly freed blacks, the Supreme Court began “to develop it as a protection for corporations,” as corporate lawyers argued that corporations were defined as legal ‘persons’, and therefore they could not have their rights infringed upon as stipulated in the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court went along with this reasoning, and even intervened in state legislative decisions which instead promoted the rights of workers and farmers. Ultimately, “of the Fourteenth Amendment cases brought before thee Supreme Court between 1890 and 1910, nineteen dealt with the Negro, 288 dealt with corporations.”[17]

It was in this context that increasing social unrest was taking place, and thus that new methods of social control were becoming increasingly necessary. Among the restless and disgruntled masses, were radical new social theories that had emerged to fill a void – a void which was created by the inherent injustice of living in a human social system in which there is a dehumanizing power structure.

Philosophies of Liberation and Social Dislocation

It was in this context that new theories and philosophies emerged to fill the void created by the hegemonic ideologies and the institutions which propagate them. While these various critical philosophies expanded human kind’s understanding of the world around them, they did not emerge in a vacuum – that is, separate from various hegemonic ideas, but rather, they were themselves products of and to varying degrees espoused certain biases inherent in the hegemonic ideologies. This arose in the context of increasing class conflict in both the United States and Europe, brought about as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Two of the pre-eminent ideologies and philosophies that emerged were Marxism and Anarchism.

Marxist theory, originating with German philosopher Karl Marx, expanded human kind’s understanding of the nature of capitalism and human society as a constant class struggle, in which the dominant class (the bourgeoisie), who own the means of production (industry) exploit the lower labour class (proletariat) for their own gain. Within Marxist theory, the state itself was seen as a conduit through which economic powers would protect their own interests. Marxist theory espoused the idea of a “proletarian revolution” in which the “workers of the world unite” and overthrow the bourgeoisie, creating a Communist system in which class is eliminated. However, Karl Marx articulated a concept of a “dictatorship of the proletariat” in which upon seizing power, the proletariat would become the new ruling class, and serve its own interests through the state to effect a transition to a Communist society and simultaneously prevent a counterrevolution from the bourgeoisie. Karl Marx wrote in the Communist Manifesto (1848) also on the need for a central bank to manage the monetary system. These concepts led to significant conflict between Marxist and Anarchist theorists.

Anarchism is one of the most misunderstood philosophies in modern historical thought, and with good reason: it’s revolutionary potential was boundless, as it was an area of thought that was not as rigid, doctrinaire or divisive as other theories, both hegemonic and critical. No other philosophy or political theory had the potential to unite both socialists and libertarians, two seemingly opposed concepts that found a home within the wide spectrum of anarchist thought, leading to a situation in which many anarchists refer to themselves as ‘libertarian socialists.’ As Nathan Jun has pointed out:

[A]narchism has never been and has never aspired to be a fixed, comprehensive, self-contained, and internally consistent system of ideas, set of doctrines, or body of theory. On the contrary, anarchism from its earliest days has been an evolving set of attitudes and ideas that can apply to a wide range of social, economic, and political theories, practices, movements, and traditions.[18]

Susan Brown noted that within Anarchist philosophy, “there are mutualists, collectivists, communists, federalists, individualists, socialists, syndicalists, [and] feminists,” and thus, “Anarchist political philosophy is by no means a unified movement.”[19] The word “anarchy” is derived from the Greek word anarkhos, which means “without authority.” Thus, anarchy “is committed first and foremost to the universal rejection of coercive authority,” and that:

[C]oercive authority includes all centralized and hierarchical forms of government (e.g., monarchy, representative democracy, state socialism, etc.), economic class systems (e.g., capitalism, Bolshevism, feudalism, slavery, etc.), autocratic religions (e.g., fundamentalist Islam, Roman Catholicism, etc.), patriarchy, heterosexism, white supremacy, and imperialism.[20]

The first theorist to describe himself as anarchist was Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, a French philosopher and socialist who understood “equality not just as an abstract feature of human nature but as an ideal state of affairs that is both desirable and realizable.”[21] While this was a common concept among socialists, anarchist conceptions of equality emphasized that, “true anarchist equality implies freedom, not quantity. It does not mean that every one must eat, drink, or wear the same things, do the same work, or live in the same manner. Far from it: the very reverse in fact,” as “individual needs and tastes differ, as appetites differ. It is equal opportunity to satisfy them that constitutes true equality.”[22]

Mikhail Bakunin, one of the most prominent anarchist theorists in history, who was also Karl Marx’s greatest intellectual challenger and opposition, explained that individual freedom depends upon not only recognizing, but “cooperating in [the] realization of others’ freedom,” as, he wrote:

My freedom… is the freedom of all since I am not truly free in thought and in fact, except when my freedom and my rights are confirmed and approved in the freedom and rights of all men and women who are my equals.[23]

Anarchists view representative forms of government, such as Parliamentary democracies, with the same disdain as they view overtly totalitarian structures of government. The reasoning is that:

In the political realm, representation involves divesting individuals and groups of their vitality—their power to create, transform, and change themselves. To be sure, domination often involves the literal destruction of vitality through violence and other forms of physical coercion. As a social-physical phenomenon, however, domination is not reducible to aggression of this sort. On the contrary, domination operates chiefly by “speaking for others” or “representing others to themselves”—that is, by manufacturing images of, or constructing identities for, individuals and groups.[24]

Mikhail Bakunin wrote that, “Only individuals, united through mutual aid and voluntary association, are entitled to decide who they are, what they shall be, how they shall live.” Thus, with any hierarchical or coercive institutions, the natural result is oppression and domination, or in other words, spiritual death.[25]

Anarchism emerged indigenously and organically in America, separate from its European counterparts. The first anarchists in America could be said to be “the Antinomians, Quakers, and other left-wing religious groups who found the authority, dogma, and formalism of the conventional churches intolerable.” These various religious groups came to develop “a political outlook which emphasized the anti-libertarian nature of the state and government.” One of the leaders of these religious groups, Adin Ballou, declared that “the essence of Christian morality is the rejection of force, compromise, and the very institution of government itself.” Thus, a Christian “is not merely to refrain from committing personal acts of violence but is to take positive steps to prevent the state from carrying out its warlike ambitions.”[26] This development occurred within the first decades of the 19th century in America.

In the next phase of American philosophical anarchism, inspiration was drawn from the idea of individualism. Josiah Warren, known as the “first American anarchist,” had published the first anarchist periodical in 1833, the Peaceful Revolutionist. Many others joined Warren in identifying the state as “the enemy” and “maintaining that the only legitimate form of social control is self-discipline which the individual must impose upon himself without the aid of government.” Philosophical anarchism grew in popularity, and in the 1860s, two loose federations of anarchists were formed in the New England Labor Reform League and the American Labor Reform League, which “were the source of radical vitality in America for several decades.” American anarchists were simultaneously developing similar outlooks and ideas as Proudhon was developing in Europe. One of the most prominent American anarchists, Benjamin Tucker, translated Proudhon’s work in 1875, and started his own anarchist journals and publications, becoming “the chief political theorist of philosophical anarchism in America.”[27]

Tucker viewed anarchism as “a rejection of all formalism, authority, and force in the interest of liberating the creative capacities of the individual,” and that, “the anarchist must remove himself from the arena of politics, refusing to implicate himself in groups or associations which have as their end the control or manipulation of political power.” Thus, Tucker, like other anarchists, “ruled out the concepts of parliamentary and constitutional government and in general placed himself and the anarchist movement outside the tradition of democracy as it had developed in America.” Anarchism has widely been viewed as a violent philosophy, and while that may be the case for some theorists and adherents, many anarchist theorists and philosophies rejected the notion of violence altogether. After all, its first adherents in America were driven to anarchist theory simply as a result of their uncompromising pacifism. For the likes of Tucker and other influential anarchist theorists, “the state, rather than being a real structure or entity, is nothing more than a conception. To destroy the state then, is to remove this conception from the mind of the individual.” Thus, the act of revolution “has nothing whatever to do with the actual overthrow of the existing governmental machinery,” and Proudhon opined that, “a true revolution can only take place as mankind becomes enlightened.” Revolution, to anarchists, was not an imminent reality, even though it may be an inevitable outcome:

The one thing that is certain is that revolution takes place not by a concerted uprising of the masses but through a process of individual social reformation or awakening. Proudhon, like Tucker and the native American anarchists, believed that the function of anarchism is essentially educational… The state will be abolished at the point at which people in general have become convinced of its un-social nature… When enough people resist it to the point of ignoring it altogether, the state will have been destroyed as completely as a scrap of paper is when it is tossed into a roaring fire.[28]

In the 1880s, anarchism was taken up by many of the radical immigrants coming into America from Europe, such as Johann Most and Emma Goldman, a Jewish Russian feminist anarchist. The press portrayed Goldman “as a vile and unsavory devotee of revolutionary violence.” Goldman partook in an attempted assassination of Henry C. Frick, an American industrialist and financier, historically known as one of the most ruthless businessmen and referred to as “the most hated man in America.” This was saying something in the era of J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. Emma Goldman later regretted the attempted assassination and denounced violence as an anarchist methodology. However, she came to acknowledge a view similar to Kropotkin’s (another principle anarchist philosopher), “that violence is the natural consequence of repression and force”:

The state, in her opinion, sows the seeds of violence when it lends it authority and force to the retardation of social change, thereby creating deep-seated feelings of injustice and desperation in the collective unconscious. “I do not advocate violence, government does this, and force begets force.”[29]

The general belief was that “social violence is never arbitrary and meaningless. There is always a deep-seated cause standing behind every deed.” Thus:

Social violence, she argued, will naturally disappear at the point at which men have learned to understand and accommodate themselves to one another within a dynamic society which truly values human freedom. Until then we can expect to see pent up hostility and frustration of certain individuals and groups explode from time to time with the spontaneity and violence of a volcano.[30]

Thus we have come to take a brief glimpse of the social upheaval and philosophies gripping and spreading across the American (and indeed the European) landscape in the 19th century. As a radical reaction to the revolutionizing changed brought by the Industrial Revolution, class struggle, labor unrest, Marxism and Anarchism arose within a populace deeply unsatisfied, horrifically exploited, living in desperation and squalor, and lighting within them a spark – a desire – for freedom and equality. They were not ideologically or methodologically unified, specifically in terms of the objectives and ends; yet, their enemies were the same. It as a struggle among the people against the prevailing and growing sources of power: the state and Capitalist industrialization. The emergence of corporations in America after the Civil War (themselves a creation of the state), created new manifestations of exploitation, greed and power. The Robber Barons were the personification of ‘evil’ and in fact were quite openly and brazenly ruthless. The notion of ‘public relations’ had not yet been invented, and so the industrialists would openly and violently repress and crush struggles, strikes and protests. The state was, after all, firmly within their grip.

It was this revolutionary fervour that permeated the conniving minds of the rich and powerful within America, that stimulated the concepts of social control, and laid the foundations for the emergence of the 20th century as the ‘century of social engineering.’

In Part 2 of “The Century of Social Engineering,” I will identify new ideas of domination, oppression and social control that arose in response to the rise of new ideas of liberation and resistance in the 19th century. This process will take us through the emergence of the major universities and a new educational system, structure and curriculum, the rise of the major philanthropic foundations, and the emergence of public relations. The combination of these three major areas: education, philanthropy, and public relations (all of which interact and are heavily interdependent), merged and implemented powerful systems of social control, repressing the revolutionary upheaval of the 19th century and creating the conditions to transform American, and in fact, global society in the 20th century.