Progressive Calendar 05.01.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 21:02:18 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   05.01.08

1. Right to march   5.01 11am
2. Write on/KFAI    5.01 11am
3. Day of reason    5.01 12noon
4. Immigration      5.01 2pm
5. New Hope demo    5.01 4:30pm
6. Eagan vigil      5.01 4:30pm
7. Northtown vigil  5.01 5pm
8. Finland 1918/f   5.01 5pm
9. Book burning     5.01 7pm
10. WarMadeEasy/f   5.01 7pm
11. Impeach 4 peace 5.01 7pm
12. Poets v war     5.01 7:30pm
13. Cuba/music      5.01 8pm
14. Immigration law 5.01/02

15. Ffunch          5.02 11:30am
16. EMERGENCY/IRAN  5.02 2:30pm
17. Alt/violence    5.02-04 6pm
18. Non-vio/com     5.02-04

19. James Petras - Military or market-driven empire building: 1950-2008

--------1 of 19--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Right to march 5.01 11am

Stand Up for the Right to March on the RNC to Stop the War

Thursday, May 1, 11:00 a.m. Minnesota State Capitol, West Steps, 75 Rev.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul.

Due to a legality, we can and must maintain a number of marches on this
route regularly, in order to be able to obtain a permit to march against
war when the RNC comes to town in September 1. Gather at the Minnesota
State Capitol, march past the Xcel Center and return to the State Capitol.
City officials have been dragging their feet on granting permits for a
major antiwar march on September 1, 2008, set to coincide with the
Republican National Convention (RNC) being held in St. Paul at that time
so the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War will be marching the
planned route regularly between now and the convention. Interested in
being a peace marshal: Call Marie Braun, 612-522-1861.  FFI: Call
Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, 612-234-8774.

--------2 of 19--------

From: Write On Radio <writeonradio [at]>
Subject: Write on/KFAI 5.01 11am
 Radio for Thursday May 1st


Thursday, May 1st, author James Kunstler talks with Steve McEllistrem
about his dystopian novel World Made by Hand. Charles Baxter also joins us
in the studio to talk about his newest novel, The Soul Thief. Write on
Radio! features live readings, poetry, performances, spoken word
recordings, in-depth interviews with local, national and international
authors & writers.

Write on radio airs every THURSDAY 11 am - noon central time on 90.3 FM
Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul and live on the web at
Shows are archived for two weeks on line.

--------3 of 19--------

From: August Berkshire <augustberkshire [at]>
Subject: Day of reason 5.01 12noon

Thursday, May 1, noon-1 p.m. -

While others celebrate the "Day of Prayer" outside the Minnesota State
Capitol, Minnesota Atheists will be celebrating a "Day of Reason"  inside
the Capitol, in the Rotunda.  A series of speakers will emphasize the
importance of reason and separation of state and church.  Open to the
public.  Seating will be provided.

August Berkshire, President, Minnesota Atheists 612-588-7031

--------4 of 19--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Immigration 5.01 2pm

Immigration March on International Workers Day

Thursday, May 1, 2:00 p.m. Corner of Kellogg and Robert, St. Paul. March
to the State Capital to demand a stop to all raids and deportations of
immigrants. Call for the immediate and unconditional legalization for all!
Organized by: the May 1st Coalition.  FFI: Call 651-389-9174.

--------5 of 19--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: New Hope demo 5.01 4:30pm

NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner
of Winnetka and 42nd.  You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot
near McDonalds; we will be on all four corners.  Bring your own or use
our signs.

--------6 of 19--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 5.01 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.

--------7 of 19--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 5.01 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------8 of 19--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Finland 1918/film 5.01 5pm

Thursday, 5/1, 5 pm, MSP Film Fest documentary "UHRIT: The Victims of
1918" about the origins of cruelty from perspectives of executioner and
executed during the Finnish civil war 90 years ago, St Anthony Main
Theater, 115 Main St NE, Mpls.

--------9 of 19--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Book burning 5.01 7pm

Thursday, 5/1, 7 pm, St Kate sociology prof Brian Fogarty speaks on
censorship and book burning, after viewing a short documentary about the
banning of the German film "Tin Drum," Landmark Center, 2nd floor
Galleria, 75 - 5th St W, St Paul.

[Book burning  - a new source of fuel in end times?]
[Word is Bush will be cold after he burns his book.]

--------10 of 19--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: War Made Easy/f 5.01 7pm

"War Made Easy - How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death"
will be shown Thursday May 1st, 7 PM as part of the Northwest Neighbors
for Peace First Thursday Film Night. The film, narrated by Sean Penn and
featuring Norman Solomon, will be shown at Spirit of Hope United Methodist
Church, 7600 Harold Avenue, Golden Valley, one block south of Hwy. 55 off
Winnetka.  Free and open to all; discussion of this stimulating film will
follow. For more information, Carole at 763-546-5368.

--------11 of 19--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Impeach 4 peace 5.01 7pm

Impeach for Peace

May 1st Thursday 7pm at
Maplewood Public Library  (651-704-2033)
3025 Southlawn Drive
Maplewood, Minnesota
(Just west of Maplewood Mall;
south of County D (which is just south of 694);
north of Beam Ave)

The NorthEast Suburban Greens (NESG) present Jodin Morey co-founder of
Impeach for Peace. Jodin will dicuss the history and present status of
impeachment and the reasons it so critical in the United States today.

For further information --Mike 651 645-9506 Jodin 612 328-1451

--------12 of 19--------

From: Richard Broderick <richb [at]>
Subject: Poets v war 5.01 7:30pm

May 1, 2008. at 7:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Cafe, 308 Prince in St.  Paul,
Minnesota Poets Against the War marks the fifth anniversary of "Mission
Accomplished." Please join poets Joyce Sutphen, Thomas R.  Smith, Kathryn
Kysar, Cary Waterman, Sharon Chmielarz, Richard Terrill, Diane Jarvenpa,
Kirsten Dierking, Tom Nolan, Carol Bjorlie, Dobby Gibson and Rich
Broderick in giving voice to our opposition to the occupation of Iraq in
particular and to all wars in general.  Admission is free. For more
information, call 651/228-9274.

--------13 of 19--------

From: Minnesota Cuba Committee <mncuba [at]>
Subject: Cuba/music 5.01 8pm

Sponsor: Minnesota Music Fund for Cuba
When: Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 8 p.m.
Where: 7th Street Entry (First Avenue
How Much: Tickets are $8 (all money goes to the fund raising effort and
additional contributions can be made at the show)

 Bands on the Lineup:

-- Justin Fairfax
-- Black Days Down
-- The Engagement
-- Lost in Prague

Once you are in, you can stay and watch the whole show, or you will also
have the option to head to the main room for Salsa Night! This is an
opportunity to make a difference in the lives of less fortunate artists and
musicians, and to support them in their creative endeavors that enrich their

The Minnesota Music Fund for Cuba was recently formed to support Cuban
artists and musicians with basic materials needed for their craft paper,
pencils, strings, instrument cables, etc. Donations and other funds will be
used to purchase these materials, and will be sent to Cuba via the Pastors
for Peace caravan in June.

--------14 of 19--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Immigration law 5.01/02

5/1 and 5/2, MN Advocates for Human Rights sponsors conference for
immigration lawyers "Immigration Law in the New ICE Age of Enforcement."
Details at

--------15 of 19--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Ffunch 5.02 11:30am

First Friday Lunch (FFUNCH) for Greens/progressives.

Informal political talk and hanging out.

Day By Day Cafe 477 W 7th Av St Paul.
Meet in the private room (holds 12+).

Day By Day has soups, salads, sandwiches, and dangerous apple pie; is
close to downtown St Paul & on major bus lines

--------16 of 19--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: EMERGENCY/IRAN 5.02 2:30pm


"Don't Iraq Iran!" Rally
Outside Senator Amy Klobuchar's Office
1200 Washington Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Friday, May 2, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

WAMM members and anyone else is urged to call ALL MEMBERS of Congress from
their state and give them the message. You can call them at their
Washington offices FOR FREE. Call the Capitol Switchboard at
1-800-614-2803 and ask the operator to connect you to each of your U.S.
congresspersons and both senators. In Minnesota: Michelle Bachmann, John
Kline, Betty McCollum, James Oberstar, Collin Peterson, Jim Ramstad, Tim
Walz, and Keith Ellison.

--------17 of 19--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Alt/violence 5.02-04 6pm

5/2 (6 pm) to 5/4 (5 pm), basic level Alternatives to Violence Workshop,
Hennepin County Men's Workhouse, 1145 Shenandoah Lane, Plymouth.
avperika [at] or

--------18 of 19--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Non-vio/com 5.02-04

5/2 to 5/4, Dr Marshall Rosenberg leads a nonviolent communication
workshop at University of St Thomas, Brady Educational Centeer, 2115
Summit Ave, St Paul.  Go for one day or all.

--------19 of 19--------

Military or Market-Driven Empire Building: 1950-2008
by James Petras
April 30th, 2008
Dissident voice

>From the middle of the 19th century but especially after the Second World
War, two models of empire building competed on a world scale: One
predominantly based on military conquests, involving direct invasions,
proxy invading armies and subsidized separatist military forces; and the
other predominantly based on large-scale, long-term economic penetration
via a combination of investments, loans, credits and trade in which
"market" power and the superiority (greater productivity) in the means of
production led to the construction of a virtual empire.

Throughout the 19th to the middle of the 20th centuries, European and US
empire building resorted to the military route, especially in Asia,
Africa, Central America, North America and the Caribbean. By far, the
British and US colonized the greatest territories through military force,
followed by the introduction of state directed mercantile systems, the
Monroe doctrine for the US and imperial preference for the British. South
America following independence became the site of the growth of market
powered empire building. British and later US capital successfully
captured the commanding heights of the economies, especially the
agro-mining and petroleum export sectors, trade, finance and in some cases
attached customs and treasury to cover debt collection. As late developing
capitalist countries and emerging imperial powers (EIP), the US, Germany
and Japan faced the hostility of the established European empires and
limited access to strategic markets and raw materials. The EIP adopted
several strategies in challenging the existing empires. These included
demands for free trade with their colonies and the end of imperial
(colonial) privilege/ preference. The EIP established parallel colonial
settlements and concessions, bordering the old empires. They fomented and
financed "anti-colonial" revolts to replace existing colonial
collaborators and pursued economic penetration via superior production.
They disseminated political propaganda promoting "democratic" values
within a market driven empire. World War Two marked the decline of the
European military based colonial empire and the US transition from a
predominantly market to military-based empire. This "transition" was
facilitated by earlier military occupations in the Philippines and the
Caribbean and a multitude of invasions in Central America.

Nationalist liberation movements, based on liberal, nationalist and
socialist leaders and programs, drawing on returning soldiers, weakened
colonial control and post-war European anti-fascist and anti-war
sentiments, led to the dismantling of their military-based empires.
Internal reconstruction and domestic working class radicalism influenced
the agenda for most European colonial powers. The attempts by the European
powers to re-impose their colonial empires failed despite bloody wars in
Indo-China, Kenya, Algeria, Malaya and elsewhere. The French, English and
Israeli invasion and occupation of the Egyptian Suez (1956) marked the
last major attempt at military-driven imperialism.

The US opposition to this effort at European re-colonization marked the
supremacy of US-centered empire building and, paradoxically, the beginning
of US military-driven empire building. The European powers, especially
Great Britain, engineered a strategic shift from a colonial-military
empire toward market-driven empires based on supporting pro-capitalist
nationalist against socialist revolutionaries (India, Malaysia, Singapore,
etc.). While Europe transited to the market-driven empire building model
based first and foremost on the reconstruction of their war-torn domestic
capitalist economy, the US quickly moved toward a military based empire
building approach. The US established military bases throughout Europe,
militarily intervened in Greece, elaborated a complex and comprehensive
military buildup to challenge Soviet spheres of influence in Eastern
Europe and intervened in the Chinese and especially the Korean and
Vietnamese civil wars.

    Immediate Post-WWII: The Combination of Market and Military Roads to

Because the US economy and military came out of the victory during WWII
with enormous resources far surpassing any other country or group of
countries, it was able to pursue a dual approach to empire building,
engaging in military and economic expansion. The US dominated over 50% of
world trade and had the greatest surplus public and private capital to
invest overseas. The US possessed technological and productivity
advantages to promote "free trade" among its would-be competitors and to
increase domestic living standards.

These advantageous circumstances, directly related and limited to the
first decade of the post-WWII period, became embedded in the practice and
strategic thinking of US policymakers, Congress, the Executive branch and
both major parties. The conjunctural "world superiority" generated a
plethora of elite ideologies and a mass mind set in which the US was seen
to be "by nature", by "divine will", destined by "history" and its
"values", by its "superior education, technology and productivity" to rule
over the world. The specific economic and political conditions of the
".decade" (1945-1955) were frozen into an unquestioned dogma, which denied
the dynamics of changing market, productive and political relations that
gradually eroded the original bases of the ideology.

             Divergence in the World Economy: US-Europe-Japan

Beginning with the massive military buildup with the "Cold War" and the
subsequent hot war in Korea, the US allocated a far greater percentage of
its budget and GNP to war and military empire building than Western Europe
or Japan.

By the mid-1950d'.s, while the US vastly expanded its state military
apparatus (armed forces, intelligence agencies and clandestine armies),
Western Europe and Japan expanded and built up their state economic
agencies, public enterprises, investment and loan programs for the private
sector. Even more significantly, US military spending and purchases
stimulated Japanese and European industries. Equally important
state-private procurement policies subsidized US industrial inefficiency
via cost over-runs, non-competitive bidding and military-industrial

US empire building via projections of military power absorbed hundreds of
billions of dollars in government expenditures in regions and countries
with low economic payoffs in the Caribbean, Central American, Asia and

While military-driven empire building did increase short term domestic
growth and rising income, and led to some important civilian spin-offs and
technological breakthroughs that entered the civilian economy, European
and Japanese market-based empire building moved with greater dynamism from
domestic to export led growth and began to challenge US predominance in a
multiplicity of productive sectors.

The US' prolonged and costly war against Indo-China (roughly 1954-74)
epitomized the replacement of European colonial-military empire building
by the US version. The hundreds of billions of dollars in US government
war spending spilled over into Japanese and South Korean high-growth
manufacturing industries. Western European manufacturing achieved
productivity gains and export markets in former African and Asian colonial
nations, while the US Empire's murderous wars in South East Asia
discredited it and its products throughout the world. Domestic unrest,
widespread civilian protests and military demoralization further weakened
the US capacity to pursue its imperial agenda and defend strategic
collaborating regimes in key regions.

The relative decline of US manufacturing exports was accompanied by the
massive growth of US public debt, which in turn stimulated the vast
expansion of the financial sector which then shaped regional and national
policy toward de-industrializing central cities and converting them into a
finance-real estate and insurance monoculture.

The contrasting and divergent roads to empire building between the US on
the one hand and Europe and Japan on the other, deepened with the advent
of the "Second Cold War" under the Carter-Reagan years. While the US spent
billions in proxy wars in Southern Africa (Angola and Mozambique), Latin
America (Nicaragua, Chile, El Salvador and Guatemala) and Asia
(Afghanistan), the Europeans were expanding economically into Eastern
Europe, China, Latin America and the Middle East. Even at the moment of
greatest imperial success, the overthrow of Communism in the USSR and East
Europe and China's transition to capitalism, the US militarily driven
empire failed to reap the benefits: Under Clinton the US promoted the raw
pillage of the Russian economy and destruction of the state (civilian and
military), market and scientific base rather than stabilize and jointly
exploit its existing markets and human and material resources. The US
spent billions undermining Communism, but the Europeans, primarily
Germany, and to a much lesser degree France, England and Japan, were the
prime beneficiaries in terms of securing the most productive industries
and employing the better part of the skilled labor and engineers in the
former Soviet bloc. By the end of the Clinton era and the bursting of the
information technology speculative bubble, the European Union eclipsed the
US in GNP, outperformed the US in accumulating trade surpluses and foreign
debt management.

          Market Versus Military Empire Building in the 1990's

During the Bush-Clinton years, US military-driven empire-building vastly
expanded its commitments in financing and providing troops into the Balkan
and Iraq wars, military entry into Somalia, the bombing of the Sudan, the
increased subsidy of Israel's colonial wars, the Afghan wars, Colombia's
counter-insurgency and to a lesser extent the Philippines'
counter-insurgency and counter-separatist wars. While the US spent
billions to prop up a gangster-ridden and corrupt KLA regime in Kosova in
order to spend billions more in building a huge military base, Germany was
reaping the economic benefits of its economic hegemony in the relatively
prosperous regimes of Croatia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. While the
US spent hundreds of billions in the First and Second Gulf Wars, China,
the new emerging market-driven empire builder, was looking to sign
lucrative oil and gas contracts in the Middle East, especially with Iran.
While the US was backing an unpopular minority regime backed by its client
Ethiopian military force in Somalia, China was signing major oil contracts
in Sudan, Angola and Nigeria and even in Northern Somalia (Puntland).
While the US military-centered empire-building state was giving away over
$3 billion in military aid (plus transferring its most up-to-date military
technology to competitor firms) per year to Israel, European, Asian and
Latin American private and public enterprises were signing long-term
lucrative contracts with the Gulf oil states as well as with Iran.

A clear sign of the long-term economic decay of the US global competitive
position between 2002-2008 is evidenced by the fact that a 40%
depreciation of the dollar has failed to substantially improve the US
balance of payments, let alone produce a trade surplus. Despite the
handicap of appreciating currencies, China, Germany and Japan continued to
accumulate trade surpluses, especially with the US. While the US spent
hundreds of billions in Asian wars, CIA propaganda and subversive
operations in the former USSR, Eastern Europe, the Baltic States, the
Caribbean (Cuba/Venezuela) and the Caucuses, the principle beneficiaries
were the revitalized European market-driven empire-builders and the newly
emerging market empire builders.

While the US spends enormous sums in building new military bases
surrounding Russia, including new offensive operations in Kosova, Poland
and the Czech Republic, with new preparations for NATO bases in Georgia
and the Ukraine, Russian, Chinese and European capital expands buying out
or investing in privatized and public-private strategic mining, petrol and
manufacturing enterprises in Africa, Latin America, Australia and the

While China harnesses foreign capital, including major US MNCs to make
itself the "manufacturing workshop of the world", Germany with its high
precision heavy manufacturers are prospering by "constructing the
workshops" for the Chinese. US manufacturers and productive capital flee
to state-subsidized (via tax reductions and low interest rates) financial,
real estate and speculative sectors, and go overseas to avoid high rent
and fringe payments to US labor. The resulting decline of the domestic
market and a shrinking base of industrially trained labor reinforce the
overseas and speculative movements on US capital. These capitalist
structural changes undermined the economic fundamentals underlying the
financial sector.

The deterioration of the US economy became apparent as the speculative
paper pyramid (sub-prime and credit crises) collapsed during the 2007-08
recession. The recycling of multiple layers of "exotic" financial
"instruments" each more precarious than the other, each more divorced from
any tangible productive unit in the real economy characterized this
period. Their predictable collapse dragged the US into recession. Even
among the big banks and financial houses, there is no knowledge of the
real value of the paper being traded or of the "material collateral"
(housing and commercial property being held). The fictitious economy
revolves around unloading the devalued paper, to cover costs and lessen
losses - and let the next holder of the paper face the risks and
uncertainties. As a result there is a total lack of confidence in the
market because the "objects" up for sale have become so lacking of value,
i.e. so intangible and unrelated to the real economy.

The decline of the real producer basis of goods and social services and
the predominance of the paper economy accentuated the divergence between
military-directed empire building and the global economic interests of the
US. The paper economy is not directly influenced by imperialist
militarism, as is the case with US MNC's with physical assets at risk from
imperial wars, armed resistance, the disruption of trade routes, the
destruction of overseas markets and the disarticulation of access to
minerals and energy sources.

The ascendancy of speculative finance capital coincides with the greater
autonomy of the militarist empire builders over and against the residual
influence of American manufacturing and commercial interests supporting
market imperialism. The extraordinary role that the pro-Israel power bloc
plays in shaping a bellicose Middle East foreign policy over and above
what US oil companies looking to sign contracts with Arab countries
exercised, can only be understood within the large upsurge of "militarist
driven imperial policy".

Washington's unconditional support of Israel's militarist colonial regime
reflects two important structural changes in US empire building. One is
the extraordinary organization and influence of the principle pro-Israel
Jewish organization over local, regional, national legislative and
executive bodies and in the mass media and financial institutions. The
second change is the rise of a political class of executive and
legislative militarist policy-makers, which has an affinity with Israeli
colonialism and its offensive military strategy. Israel is one of the few
- if not only - military-driven "emerging imperial powers" and that is
part of the reason for the "resonance" between Jewish leaders in Israel
and Washington policy-makers. This is the real basis of the often stated
and affirmed "common interests and values" between the two "countries".
Military-driven imperial powers, like the US and Israel, do not share
"democratic values" - as even the most superficial observer of their
savage repression of their conquered peoples and nations (Iraq and
Palestine) can attest - they share the military route to empire-building.

      Historic Comparison of Market and Military Driven Imperialism

A rational cost efficient evaluation of the US major and minor military
invasions demonstrates the high economic cost and low economic benefits to
both the capitalist system as a whole and even to many key economic

The US blockade and subsequent war with Japan ultimately unleashed the
Asian national liberation movements, which undercut European, and US
colonial-style military imperialism. The Korean War ignited the massive
re-industrialization of Japan and created optimal conditions for Korea's
model of protectionism at home and free trade with the US (so-called Asian
state-led export model). The result was the creation of two major
manufacturing rivals to the US economic expansion in Asia, North America
and later in the rest of the world.

The US invasion, colonial occupation and imperial war in Indochina and its
subsequent defeat severely weakened the military capacity to subsequently
defend global imperial interests and client states in Southern Africa,
Iran and Nicaragua. More to the point, by concentrating resources on
war-making the US lost markets to the emerging market empire-builders and
diverted capital from increasing the productivity and productive forces
which create market dominance.

In the broader picture, military and market driven imperialism, which
coexisted and seemed to complement each other diverged in the period
between 1963-1973, with the militarist faction gaining supremacy in
directing US empire-building. The divergence was papered over by several
instances of complementary activity such as the overthrow of President
Allende in Chile on behalf of US MNCs and similar earlier cases as in
Guatemala (1954), Iran (1953) and in other countries where quick imperial
victories over smaller countries did not seem to carry any significant
economic or political costs.

The ascendancy of Reagan and the negative long-term economic impact of new
arms buildup were obscured by the break-up of the Communist system and the
Chinese and Vietnamese transitions to capitalism. The windfall gains to US
economic interests in the former European communist countries, especially
Russia, were largely based on pillaging existing resources in alliance
with gangster-capitalists. Long-term, large-scale benefits were not due to
US capitalist taking over and developing the forces of production and
developing the internal markets of the ex-communist countries. The
political and military gains that accrued to US military empire building
obscured the continued loss of economic power in the world marketplace to
the market-driven imperial powers. Moreover, China unleashed a
large-scale, long-term process of dynamic capital accumulation, which in
less than two decades displaced the US from manufacturing markets and
challenged its access to energy markets.

In other words, favorable resolution of the US-Soviet conflict led to
their mutual economic decline. What is worse from a practical historical
perspective, the military-driven empire builders saw their "victory" over
Communism as vindication and license to escalate their militarist approach
to empire building. According to this line of argument, the Soviets fell
because of military pressure, backed by ideological warfare. Moreover, in
the absence of a countervailing military pole, the Bush-Clinton-Bush
Presidencies saw an open field for pursuing the military road to empire

  From the Gulf, to the Gulf and Back to the Gulf : 1990-2008 (and beyond)

The first Bush Presidency assumed the military road to empire building but
tried to avoid the high costs of occupation and colonization. The Israeli
colonial model had to await the Zionist occupation of policy-making
positions in later administrations. The first Iraq War was intended to
project US imperial military power, secure US economic interests among the
Gulf oil states (Kuwait and Saudi Arabia) as well as expand Israeli
influence in the Middle East. Most of all it was seen as the launching of
a New World Order; centered in US world supremacy, supported by docile
allies and financed by rich Arab oil states.

Shortly after the Gulf War, the triple alliance, which emerged during the
war, collapsed as Europe pursued its own market-driven empire in
competition with the US, Saudi Arabia paid some of the US military
expenditures and then abruptly ended its funding, and domestic opposition
grew as the electorate demanded less imperial expenditures and the
re-building of the domestic economy.

         Military-Driven Empire-Building (MDE) and Zionism

The Zionist Power Configuration in the United States successfully secured
from the White House and Congress massive sustained multi-billion dollar
military and economic grant and aid packages for Israel throughout the
1980's ensuring Israel's military superiority in the Middle East. Yet both
Presidents Reagan and Bush (father) tried to maintain a balance between
the interests of major US oil multi-nationals working with Arab regimes on
the one hand and on the other Israeli and Washington's military-driven
empire building (MDE).

Bush Senior's attack of Iraq in the First Gulf War, greatly reduced
Baghdad's military capability but he refrained from destroying its armed
forces or overthrowing Saddam Hussein as Israel and the ZPC were demanding
at the time. Above all, Bush did not want to destabilize the region for US
oil deals in the Gulf, even as he imposed a US military presence to ensure

With the election of Clinton and the Democratic-controlled Congress, the
MDE and the ZPC gained strategic positions in the elaboration and
implementation of foreign policy. Madeleine Albright, "Sandy" Berger,
Dennis Ross, Cohen, and Martin Indyk and an army of lesser known
functionaries, militarists and Zionists launched a series of wars,
military attacks and severe sanctions against Yugoslavia, Somalia, Sudan
and Iraq. They devastated their population (over 500,000 children died in
Iraq as a direct result of US starvation sanctions), destroyed their
national productive facilities and, intentionally disarticulated and
fragmented their nations into violent ethno-tribal and religious
mini-states. While Clinton embraced the military road to empire building,
he was also totally committed to the financial sector of the US economy
(in particular, the most speculative activities) by de-regulating all
controls, oversight and constraints on "hedge funds", investment banks and
equity houses. Under the tutelage of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve
Bank, the pro-Israel Alan Greenspan, the Clinton regime became the
launching pad for the full conversion of the US into a speculation-driven
economy, culminating in the dot-com bubble which burst in 2000-2001, and
the massive Enron and World Com swindles leading up to the current
financial meltdown of 2006-2008.

While the MDE gained a dominant role, the ascendance of speculative
capital marginalized and eroded the political influence and economic
weight of productive capital, forcing it overseas and/or to transfer funds
into the financial-speculative sector. The socio-economic basis of
market-driven empire-building was weakened relative to the militarists and
the ZPC in setting the US foreign policy agenda. This new power
configuration opened the door for the total takeover by these same forces
during the 8 years of Bush (Junior)'s presidency. The latter quickly
eliminated any residual influence of the market-driven imperialists,
forcing the resignation of his first Treasury Secretary O'Neal and others.
Even hybrid market-militarists like Colin Powell who went along with the
global war strategy but raised tactical questions were subsequently forced
into retirement.

MDE were in total control of the government in all spheres, from the
elaboration of war propaganda, the build-up of a global network of terror
and assassination teams, to colonial wars and the systematic use of
torture abroad and the savaging of elementary freedoms at home. Within the
MDE, the ZPC gained dominance, especially in the formulation and the
implementation of total war strategies in Iraq and the unconditional
backing of Israel's genocidal politics in Gaza and the West Bank. Every
sector of the government was geared to war, bellicose action and
especially to subordinating economic policies to military practices
informed by the military-driven Israeli colonization.

The convergence of policy and practice between the MDE and the ZPC within
the highest levels of government and their mutual reinforcement, gave US
foreign policy its extremist military character. Zionist cultural and
media power provided an army of academic and journalistic ideologues and
mass media platforms which the MDE previously lacked - and amplified their
message. The linking of traditional US MDE and the emerging power of the
Israeli-ZPC buttressed the spread of authoritarian controls and harsh and
widespread censorship over any politician, intellectual or media critic of
Israel and its unconditional supporters in the ZPC.

The joint forces of the MDE and ZPC have reshaped the US military command
to serve their plans for new major wars - against Iran - and the
prolongation and extension of wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia,
Lebanon and elsewhere. The MDE have failed to pursue the free trade
openings in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East - leaving the field
wide open for entirely new trading and investment networks involving
China, Europe, Japan, India, Russia and the Middle Eastern sovereign
funds. Even with the onset of the recession in the US and the meltdown of
the financial markets, the militarists have refused to change or alter
their stranglehold on the budget and foreign policy, causing the
government to resort to printing currency to finance the bailout of
speculators and their investment banks.

    Imperial Wars, Social Revolutions and Capitalist Restorations

The historical record demonstrates that imperial wars destroy the
productive forces and social networks of targeted countries. In contrast,
market-driven economic empire building gains hegemony via collaboration
with local political and economic elites, taking control of strategic
industries, minerals and energy via direct investments and loans,
privatizations and denationalization, and favorable trade and monetary
agreements. Market-driven empire building takes over, it does not destroy
the productive forces; it does not demolish the social fabric, it
reconstructs or "adjusts" it to accommodate its accumulation needs.

The evolution of social revolutionary regimes in a post liberation period
shows a common pattern reflecting the political-economic external
constraints imposed by military imperialism. The revolutionary regimes
expropriate and nationalize the major means of production, control foreign
trade and organize the planning of the economy. They eliminate foreign
control over strategic economic sectors, centralize political and economic
control as well as redistribute land and income. In many cases these
radical measures were imposed upon the revolutionary governments by
imperial economic boycotts, the flight of capitalist and landlords, the
non-cooperation of managers and technicians and by the necessity of
reconstruction in the face of large-scale destruction. The US embargo and
similar constraints on external financial aid have forced revolutionary
governments to rely on the rationing of scarce resources for priority
public projects, limiting its capacity to increase individual consumption.

As a result, the post-revolutionary regimes were forced to deal with
market-driven empire builders. They contracted large-scale short-term and
long-term trade agreements, joint investment ventures through equitable
profit sharing agreements and a broad range of technological contracts
involving royalty payments. In other words, given the unfavorable position
of the revolutionary economy in the world market and the low level of
development of the forces of production, the market-driven empire building
countries were in a position to secure lucrative economic opportunities.
In contrast, the military driven empire attempted to inflict maximum
economic damage to compensate for its military defeat.

The revolutionary regimes under Communist leadership featured
characteristics, which foreshadowed positive future relations with
market-driven imperial countries. Their vertical leadership and
concentrated political power facilitated quick and relatively easy changes
from collectivist to neo-liberal policies, while hindering the democratic
mechanisms, which might have corrected erroneous and harmful economic
decisions. Secondly, unchecked power at the top in a time of scarcity led
to the conversion of power into privilege, corruption and social
inequalities. These developments created a wealthy nepotistic elite with
an interest in deepening ties with their capitalist counterparts from the
imperial states. These internal changes coincided with the interests of
market-driven capitalists willing to establish lucrative "beach heads" and
relations with elite groups in the post-revolutionary society and state.
Market-driven empire builders were attracted to the tight controls
exercised over labor and the lack of competition from other
military-driven imperial states.

Post-revolutionary economies continued to be embedded in the world
capitalist marketplace and subject to its competitive demands. In the best
of circumstances, even with a democratic and socially egalitarian
leadership and relatively favorable world commodity prices, the
revolutionary regime would need to balance the social demands of a
socialist domestic economy (with demands for increases in income, social
services and workplace improvement and consumer goods) and the world
market demands for greater efficiency, increased capital investments,
rising productivity and labor discipline. Given the built-in biases toward
political and military security embedded in the bureaucratic centralist
structures, it was not surprising that production would stagnate. The
constraints and the centralized elites' inability to micro-manage the
economy beyond the period of reconstruction was one reason for stagnation.
The other was that the regime would prefer a hierarchical organized
capitalist structure (over any democratic changes from below), which would
not challenge, but rather strengthen, the communist elite's position in a
"new" eclectic system.

In other words there would be a dual transition from imperial-dominated
extractive capitalism to centralized socialism which would entail a period
of reconstruction and national unification with an organized and
disciplined labor force. This would be followed by a transition to a
centralized mixed state capitalist economy, increasingly penetrated by
market-driven imperial capital.

               Was "Socialism a Detour to Capitalism"?
        Were "Imperial Wars Necessary for Capitalist Expansion"?

The historical record documents the continued growth and expansion of
market-driven empire building throughout the post World War II period,
without wars, significant military intervention, boycotts, embargos or
other offensive belligerent actions. The expansion took place in the
context of non-revolutionary, revolutionary and post-revolutionary
regimes. Germany's market-driven empire builders traded with the Communist
East, China and Russia before, during and after the fall of Communism,
accumulating huge trade and productive advantages over the US. The same
occurred with Japan with regard to China and other Asian communist

The market imperialists did not depend, as some apologists for military
imperialists argue, "on the protective umbrella" of US militarism but on
their superior position in the world market and the greater development of
the forces of production, which allowed them to enter and secure favorable
and lucrative economic positions.

In contrast, the US empire builders, who started the post-war 1945-50
period in a uniquely favorable position in the world market, wasted their
massive economic resources in funding wars against successful revolutions
- China, Korea, Indochina, Cuba, and now in prolonged colonial wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan. Billions more have been spent in numerous surrogate
wars in Angola, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Chile with no economic payoffs
for US MNCs over and against its European and Asian competition. The US
imperial wars failed to enhance its economic empire. US Empire builders
shifted massive resources away from producing goods for the international
market and upgrading their industrial productivity in order to retain
world and domestic market shares to its monstrous and wasteful military
budgets. The result has been a steady decline of the US economic empire
relative to its competitor market-driven empires. Ironically, when the
centralized collectivist regimes eventually made the transition toward
capitalism, it was because of their inner social and economic
contradictions and not because of US military policies. The restoration of
capitalism had little to do with the hundreds of billions of dollars in US
military spending.

In contrast, the market-driven empires from the end of the 1940's
benefited from US imperial wars, by securing lucrative US military
contracts and were able to concentrate their state expenditures and
investment policies on securing overseas markets. They were in an ideal
position to reap the benefits resulting from the socialist regimes'
transition to capitalism.

Given the emergence of post-Communist political and social ruling elites
who blindly adhered to free market dogma with their corrupt, authoritarian
and privileged political practices, in retrospect "socialism" did appear
as a "detour" to capitalist restoration. However the structural changes of
some communist political elites, especially in China and Vietnam, created
the essential foundations for a capitalist take-off. They unified the
country, educated and trained a healthy, disciplined work-force, launched
basic industries, eliminated war lords and local ethnic fiefdoms.
Subsequently Communist liberalization opened the door to the peaceful
economic invasion of market-driven imperialism, safeguarded by a strong
centralized state limiting any working class or nationalist opposition or
protest. The Communist elites established a framework ideal for subsequent
imperialist reentry and expansion.

The historical record makes it clear that imperial wars were not necessary
for economic expansion. Empire-driven militarism thoroughly undermined the
US long-term competitive position. If the driving force of empire building
is economic conquest, then market-driven empires are far superior to
military-driven empires. The goal of "colonial political dominance",
pursued by military-driven imperialists, is in the modern period, a
chimera, as demonstrated by a history of political defeats in Asia,
Africa, Latin America and now in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 Military-Driven Imperialism Today and the Newly Emerging Imperial Powers

One might conclude that the US imperial leadership would have "learned the
lessons" of failed military-driven empire building from the their
experience over the past 50 years. But as we pointed out earlier, the
internal structural dynamics of the US economy and the reconfiguration of
the political elite directing the political system have led in the
opposite direction. The 21st century has witnessed the ascendancy of the
most zealous exponents of military-driven empire building in the entire
post-World War II period. An overview of US imperial policy shows the
proliferation and intensification of direct wars, surrogate wars, military
confrontations in which the US favors militarist allies over countries
with lucrative markets and profitable investment opportunities in natural

             Market-Driven Versus Militarist Alliances

The militarist and Zionist takeover of US empire building in the 21st
century is manifested in their strategic decisions, alliances and
priorities, each and everyone of which is diametrically opposed to
market-based empire building and ultimately doomed to further erode the
position of the US empire.

The newly emerging empire building states (like China), rely almost
exclusively on market-driven strategies designed by political elites
linked to industrialists and technocrats. They are quickly dominating
manufacturing markets, accessing strategic raw materials and securing
long-term trade agreements at the expense of the increasingly militarist,
but internally deteriorating US empire. Near the end of the first decade
of the 21st century, the imperial policies of the US militarists and
Zionists have demonstrated their willingness to make deep sacrifices in
market growth by choosing to align the US with costly and dubious
militarist regimes in all regions of the world, beginning with the US
alliance with Israel.

In the Middle East, unlike market-driven empire builders, the US
militarists and Zionists have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, destroying
many lucrative oil deals and joint ventures and leading to the quadrupling
the world price of oil. Instead they have invested (and lost) over a
trillion dollars in non-productive, non-economic, military activity.
Militarist imperialism has weakened the entire economic fabric of the US
Empire without any "compensatory" gains on the military side. The
prolonged war in Iraq (6 years and running) has demoralized the US ground
troops and weakened US military capability to engage in any "third front"
in which the US has important economic interests. US liberal market-driven
imperialists describe this as "imperial overstretch". While the US invests
in non-productive and unsuccessful military conquests, profoundly
indebting the domestic economy, China, India, Korea, Russia, Europe, the
Middle East and even Latin America pile up trade surpluses while expanding
their economic empires via private and sovereign investments.

Largely because of the political fusion and strategic convergence of
interests between militarists and Zionists, the US empire builders choose
to sacrifice lucrative ties to the richest markets among the Gulf State in
the Middle East and among predominantly Muslim countries in order to favor
Israel, a resource-poor militarist-colonial state with a third rate market
for goods and investments. US militarists have subjected America's empire
building to strategies in the Middle East, which mostly favor Israel's
colonial and regional hegemonic drive. This places the US on a direct
confrontational path with Lebanon, Syria, Iran and even the Gulf States
who feel threatened by Israel's constant resort to offensive military
power to attack its neighbors. No Arab oil country, no matter how
conservative and pro-capitalist, can afford to open its economy to the US,
if it believes that Washington will subordinate it to the vision of a
militarist Israel-US dominated sphere of influence. By unconditionally
backing Israel's colonial and hegemonic interests, American militarists
have gained a strategic domestic political ally (the Zionist Power
Configuration) but it has come at an enormous cost to US economic empire
building. Moreover the Israeli state has run the biggest and most
aggressive espionage operations in the US of any country since the fall of
the USSR, thus calling into question its "security benefits". The
multiplicity of enemies resulting from Israel's racist-colonialist
policies ensures that the US will be engaged in decades of war, or as long
as the US taxpayers can sustain the demands of the military empire.

Military-driven empire building is manifested not only in the Middle East
but throughout the world. In Africa, the US backs the Ethiopian military
regime and its weak and isolated puppet regime in Somalia against an
Islamist-secular nationalist coalition representing the majority of
Somalis. Washington and Israel finance and arm the Sudanese separatists in
Darfur against the oil-rich central Sudanese government. In both Somalia
and Sudan, China and other emerging imperial powers have secured access to
strategic oil rich sites. While the US spends billions of dollars on
endless wars, propaganda campaigns and sanctions, China reaps hundreds of
millions in profits. While the US financed African wars destroy the entire
fabric of production and society in Somalia, militarizing impoverished
Ethiopia, the Chinese build roads and infrastructure to facilitate exports
in both the Sudan and Northern Somalia. Pentagon-directed colonial wars in
Africa, conducted by surrogates, undermine the political support of
economic collaborators while the market-driven empires enhance their ties
with local economic elites and political rulers.

In Latin America, the US military imperialists have so far contributed $6
billion dollars in military aid to Colombia's militarist regime during the
21st century, destroying the entire social fabric in the rural areas,
while the rest of Latin America expanded their ties with Europe, Asia and
the Middle East. Washington has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in
failed efforts to destabilize Venezuela's nationalist-democratic Chavez
Government. As a result US capitalists have lost out on billions of
dollars in investments and trading contracts in Venezuela to China,
Russia, Brazil, Argentina and Iran. By making Colombia the centerpiece of
their South American policy, US militarist empire builders have lost out
on the enormously lucrative economic opportunities accompanying the
commodity price boom in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia.

In Asia, despite the deepening US economic dependence on China to sustain
to the rapidly depreciating US dollar (China holds $1.5 trillion dollars
in foreign reserves which has lost 60% of its value since 2002), the US
militarists still engage in sustained anti-Chinese propaganda campaigns
and highly provocative incidents. The US-backed violent protests against
the Chinese presence in Tibet fomented by the Dalai Lama and CIA-funded
exile organizations is only the more recent example. American Zionists
have directed a political campaign against the expansion of Chinese
investments and contracts (market-driven imperialism) in the Sudan. The
Zionist role in the so-called "Darfur" campaign is based on Sudan's
support for the Palestinians and opposition to Israel's genocidal policy
in Gaza.

China has so far generally overlooked US military provocations such as the
shooting down of a Chinese fighter plane, spy flights over Chinese
offshore territory, the deliberate bombing of its embassy in Belgrade and
the sale of advanced missiles to Taiwan. The US financing of the
separatist demonstrations among Tibetan exiles is designed to tarnish
China's image in the lead up to its hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics.
China's market-driven empire builders ignore US military provocations
because they had little effect on Chinese overseas and domestic economic
expansion. Nevertheless China has increased spending on modernizing its
military defense capabilities. More significantly, as the US economy
declines and enters a deep recession in 2008, and as the dollar continues
to fall ($1.60 to 1 Euro as of May 2008), China has turned toward the
Asian, European, Middle Eastern markets. Asian markets now account for 50%
of world trade growth as of 2008. In 2007 China increased production and
the development of its market to sustain growth rates at least five times
higher than the militarist-dominated US Empire. Even more significant, the
great majority of Chinese exporters (over 800,000) have shifted payments
to Euros, Yen, Pounds Sterling and the Renminbi in its trading with non-US
trading partners.

Russia, shaking off the shackles of Clinton-backed pillage during the
gangster capitalism of the Yeltsin years in the 1990's, has taken off
during the 21st century under the leadership of President Putin. US
military-driven empire builders were able to integrate and subordinate all
the former members of the Russia-centered Warsaw Pact into the
US-dominated NATO. In the 21st Century, the Russian economy has expanded
rapidly between 6% and 8%, established majority control over strategic
resources and has sought to lessen its vulnerability to US military
encirclement. While Germany, Italy and most of the major Asian trading
countries (China, India and Japan) have obtained lucrative trading and
investment agreements with Russia, the US militarists have concentrated on
military encroachment along Russia.s European and Asian borders. The US is
pushing to incorporate Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, and preparing to
station offensive, so-called "missile shields" in Poland and the Czech
Republic on the absurd pretext that such highly sophisticated
installations are intended to protect Western Europe from attacks by
distant Iran rather than target Moscow, just 5 minutes away by missile


US military-driven empire building has made costly military alliances with
peripheral countries at a catastrophic economic cost. The persistence of
militarist empire builders has systematically undercut market-driven
empire building and has pushed the domestic US economy to near bankruptcy.
The twin motors of the contemporary empire and domestic economy,
speculative finance and militarism, have driven the US economy backwards
at the same time that established and emerging imperial competitors are

Comparative historical data covering the entire half-century to the
present demonstrates that European, Japanese and now Chinese and Indian
market-driven expansion has been far more successful in securing market
shares, developing the productive forces and accessing strategic raw
materials than US military empire building.

Market-driven empire building has both resulted from and created a strong
civil society in which socio-economic priorities take precedent in
defining domestic and foreign economic policy over military priorities and
definitions of international reality. US empire builders, academics and
political advisers have interpreted, what they call "the rise of US global
power its victory in the Cold War and the decline of Communism" as a
vindication of military-driven empire building. They have ignored the rise
of capitalist competitors and the relative and absolute decline of the US
as an economic power. It can be argued that the newly emerging
market-driven former Communist countries (like China and Russia) represent
a greater global challenge to the US Empire than the previous stagnant
bureaucratic Communist regimes.

Militarism is deeply embedded in the structure, ideology and policies of
the entire US governing class, its political parties, the executive and
legislative branches, the judiciary and the armed forces. Over the same
half-century countervailing market-driven empire builders have declined as
a defining force in the formulation of foreign policy in the US. The
growing encroachment of the militant Zionist power configuration within
the policy-making directorate has been greatly facilitated by the
ascendancy of militarism and the relative decline of economic-empire

The long period of incremental decline of US economic empire building and
the trillions of dollars wasted by military-driven empire building has
come to a climax. In the new millennium, with the profound devaluation of
the imperial currency (the dollar), the huge indebtedness and loss of
markets Washington is totally dependent on the good will of its commercial
partners to keep accepting constantly devalued dollars in exchange for
essential commodities.

The immediate outcome is likely to be a major domestic crisis, which could
be accompanied by one more desperate and futile military attack on Iran
and/or Venezuela or a forced confrontation with China and/or Russia.
Desperate acts of declining military empires have historically accelerated
the demise of imperial rulers.

Out of the debris of failed empires two possible outcomes could emerge. A
new rabidly nationalist authoritarian regime or the re-birth of a republic
based on the reconstruction of a productive economy centered on the
domestic market and social priorities, free from foreign entanglements and
power configurations whose only purpose is to subordinate the republic to
overseas colonial ambitions.

The dismantling of the military driven empire will not occur "by choice"
but by imposed circumstances, including the incapacity of domestic
institutions to continue to finance it. The demise of the militarist
governing class will follow the collapse of their domestic economic
foundations. The result could be a withered empire, or a democratic
republic. When and how a new political leadership will emerge will depend
on the nature of the social configurations, which undertake the
reconstruction of US society.

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University,
New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser
to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of
Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). His latest books are The Power of
Israel in the United States (Clarity Press, 2006) and Rulers and Ruled in
the US Empire: Bankers, Zionists, Militants (Clarity Press, 2007). He can
be reached at: jpetras [at] Read other articles by James, or
visit James's website.

This article was posted on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 at 5:00 am and is
filed under Capitalism, China/Tibet, Economy/Economics, Empire,
Military/Militarism, Zionism. Send to a friend.


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