Saturday, March 29, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 1: Cold War: Fact and Fancy Segment 11/20
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4. Bolsheviks and Moderates

Despite the continuities, 1917 marked a critical break for policy. Earlier intervention had a somewhat ad hoc and opportunistic character, designed for territorial expansion or commercial advantage, or for deflecting and displacing European rivals. But the World War brought about entirely new conditions, and with them, a systematic and coherent ideological framework for intervention worldwide.

As Europe proceeded to self-destruct, the United States became a global power with decisive influence for the first time. And the Bolshevik revolution provided it with a global enemy, not because of Russian power, which was insignificant, but because of the ideological challenge "to the very survival of the capitalist order" (Gaddis). The response to a challenge of this scale and import was not in doubt. It was clearly formulated by Senator Warren Harding, soon to be elected President: "Bolshevism is a menace that must be destroyed"; "the Bolshevist beast [must be] slain."48

With the very survival of the existing system of privilege and domination at stake, any challenge to it, anywhere, must be regarded with utmost seriousness. Anyone who threatens the reigning order should preferably be depicted as an appendage of the beast, a Communist in disguise or a dupe of Bolshevism. And those who confront the beast or its spreading tentacles become "moderates," a label that extends to a wide range of tyrants and mass murderers, as long as they do their job. The moderates vary in their tactical choices. Some prefer to experiment with reforms to drive the beast away, turning to harsher measures if these fail. Others disdain the reformist detour and choose to aim for the heart at once. At home, the response to the challenge has ranged from harsh repression of dissidence and labor (Wilson's Red Scare and its regular successors) to a variety of more subtle means. Abroad, tactics are adapted to the specific character of the challenge, but on the principle that the beast must be slain. This general ideological framework, and the sociopolitical realities that it reflects, gave intervention a very different cast from earlier years.

The new framework was elaborated first in reaction to postwar developments in Italy, at the periphery of the Western industrial order. The pattern then established was reapplied regularly elsewhere until today. It thus deserves some scrutiny.

With rising labor militancy, Italy posed "the obvious danger of social revolution and disorganization," a high-level inquiry of the Wilson administration determined in December 1917. "If we are not careful we will have a second Russia on our hands," a State Department official noted privately, adding that "The Italians are like children" and "must be [led] and assisted more than almost any other nation." Mussolini's Blackshirts solved the problem by violence. They carried out "a fine young revolution," the American ambassador observed approvingly, referring to Mussolini's March on Rome of October 1922, which brought Italian democracy to an end. Fascist goons effectively ended labor agitation with government help, and the democratic deviation was brought to an end. The United States watched with approval. The Fascists are "perhaps the most potent factor in the suppression of Bolshevism in Italy" and have much improved the situation generally, the Embassy reported to Washington, while voicing some residual anxiety about the "enthusiastic and violent young men" who have brought about these salutary developments. The Embassy continued to report the appeal of Fascism to "all patriotic Italians," simple-minded folk who "hunger for strong leadership and enjoy...being dramatically governed."49

As Fascist darkness settled over Italy, financial support from the U.S. government and business climbed rapidly. Italy was offered by far the best postwar debt settlement of any country, and U.S. investment there grew far faster than in any other country as the Fascist regime established itself, eliminating labor unrest and other democratic disorders.50

U.S. labor leaders viewed the developments with a generally favorable eye. The American Federationist, edited by AFL president Samuel Gompers, welcomed Fascism as a bulwark against Communism and a movement "capable of decisive action on a national scale," which was "rapidly reconstructing a nation of collaborating units of usefulness," Mussolini's Fascist corporations, which subordinated labor to capital and the state. The AFL journal found these corporations "a welcome replacement for the old, Bolshevik-infected industrial unions," Ronald Filippelli comments. Mussolini's activism was also attractive. "However repugnant...the idea of dictatorship and the man on horseback," the journal continued, "American trade unionists will at least find it possible to have some sympathy with the policies of a man whose dominating purpose is to get something done; to do rather than theorize; to build a working, producing civilization instead of a disorganized, theorizing aggregation of conflicting groups" in a society riven by class conflict.51 Mussolini got the trains to run on time, as the standard cliché had it. The suppression of labor and democratic institutions was not too great a price to pay for this achievement, from the AFL perspective.

Mussolini was portrayed as a "moderate" with enormous popular appeal who had brought efficient administration and prosperity, slaying the beast and opening the doors to profitable investment and trade. Reflecting common attitudes in the business community, J.P. Morgan partner Thomas Lamont described himself as "something like a missionary" for Italian Fascism, expressing his admiration for Il Duce, "a very upstanding chap" who had "done a great job in Italy," and for the "sound ideas" that guide him in governing the country. Otto Kahn of Kuhn, Loeb, and Co. praised the Fascists further for ending "parliamentary wrangling and wasteful impotent bureaucracy" and bringing "a spirit of order, discipline, hard work, patriotic devotion and faith" under "the clear sighted and masterful guidance of that remarkable man, Benito Mussolini." Judge Elbert Gary of United Steel asked whether "we, too, need a man like Mussolini." The U.S. Embassy was particularly impressed that "there has not been a single strike in the whole of Italy" since the Fascist takeover.52

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48 Cited by Schmitz, United States and Fascist Italy, 40. Gaddis, see note 6.

49 Schmitz, op. cit., 14, 36, 44, 52, citing Colonel House's Inquiry advising President Wilson on the Versailles negotiations; Gordon Auchincloss of the State Department, wartime diaries; Ambassador Richard Washburn Child; Embassy to Washington, 1921.

50 Ibid., chapters 3, 4, for details.

51 Filippelli, American Labor and Postwar Italy, 1943-1953 (Stanford, 1989), 15.

52 Schmitz, op. cit., 67f. KEYWORDS terrorist democracy elections cia mossad bnd nsa covert operation 911 mi6 inside job what really happened wtc pentagon joint chiefs of staff jcs centcom laser hologram usa mi5 undercover agent female sex exploitation perception deception power anarchy green social democratic participation japanese spy black-op false flag gladio terror.

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