Promethean City Builders vs Finance Capital Malthusians: Multipolarists vs Anglo-American Empire Part II

Part II The Anglo-American Empire: The Poverty of Centrism, The Linear Political Spectrum and the Shaping of The New Left

 

Orientation

Summary of Part I

In Part I of this article, I contrasted the differences between rising Multipolarism with a declining Anglo-American empire. Taking the side of the multipolarists of the East, I  identified Lyndon LaRouche as someone who bridged the gap between East and West.

His concept of “The American system” defends the Enlightenment as the movement to look to if the west is going to join the multipolar world. I also presented Matthew Ehret’s book The Clash of the Two Americas: Volume I The Unfinished Sympathy as a concrete example of the battle between the British System and American system in the 18th and 19th centuries. At the end of Part I I raise questions as to where to place these advocates of the American system on the political spectrum and ask who its enemies are.

Are there times when centrism is unrealistic, ungrounded, and against common sense?

Unlike the left-wing and right-wing of the political spectrum, centrism is presented as a golden mean against the extremes. It embodied common sense, as opposed to fanaticism, pragmatism in contrast, unrealistic idealism and non-violence against violence. Yet there are times when centrism doesn’t work; occasions when centrism is not common sense, circumstances when centrism is not pragmatic, when compromise between extremes comes up empty. Not only is centrism unrealistic but the entire linear political spectrum founded at the end of the 18th century is bankrupt.

Strange bedfellows? Finance capitalists and the New Left

By the end of World War II, the financial capitalists had two enemies – the liberalism of FDR and the world communist movement. Most of us know the historical differences between the Old Left and the New Left. The Old Left represented the world communist movement as well as the forces of the Enlightenment. Is it possible that the emergence of the New Left with very different values driven by Romanticism was shaped by the anti-communist finance capitalists?

My claims in Part II

1)The political philosophy of the Anglo-American Empire and finance capitalists empire is centrism and it must be opposed.

2) The forces of Promethean City builders must dispense with the linear political spectrum create a new political spectrum which expresses its hopes.

3) For the past 70 years, the anti-communist forces of the Anglo-American empire have shaped a fake opposition, the romantic New Left, to oppose the development of a communist movement.

The first image at the top of this article includes arch anti-communists Arthur Koestler and Sidney Hook. The second image is the founder of Democratic Socialist of America, Michael Harrington, also an anti-communist.

Poverty of Centrism

As I wrote in my article: Are Socialists Going to Let Neoliberals Define Fascism?

All over the world, centrist parties are losing elections. People are either not voting at all or they are voting for fascists. In some countries people are voting for Social Democrats. The traditional choices between liberals and conservatives do not speak to world problems today. Additionally, just as centrist parties are collapsing (as depicted in the image above) so is the linear political spectrum model that serves as its visual description.

Today the fact that liberal and conservative parties are the same is far more significant than their differences. They have at least agreed on:

  • Support of finance and military capitalism as an economic system domestically
  • Never to discuss socioeconomic class in the way Marxists would
  • Suppressing third-party access into political debates.
  • Supporting imperialism around the world
  • Supporting the instillation of right-wing dictators
  • Supporting Israel elites despite 75 years of Zionist fundamentalism and their oppression of Palestinians
  • Opposition to state-centered socialism around the world

What this means is that:

  • There are far more commonalties between liberals and conservatives than there are between liberals and socialists because capitalism divides them
  • There are far more commonalities between liberals and fascists than between liberals and socialists because both liberals and fascists support capitalism

The linear political spectrum is too simple for today’s complex politics

Examples include:

  • China forming alliances with non-socialist countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia
  • Social Democrats (socialists) forming alliances with imperialists (Germany, Norway, Sweden). This goes way back to Social Democrats voting for war in 1914
  • Right-wing governments like Modi’s of India supporting a socialist country (China)
  • The Recent elections in France in which Le Pen (supposed fascist) has social programs to the left of Macron (a neoliberal)
  • A neoliberal Democratic Party supporting fascist Ukrainian forces

Centrism is bankrupt in extreme capitalist crises

The linear political spectrum also makes it appear that the middle of the political spectrum is compromising, pragmatic, down-to-earth and can never be unrealistic. Supposedly, centrists are moderate and not hysterical like the fascists or communists. What this ignores is that when there are extreme economic, political or ecological conditions the center doesn’t hold. It caves in.  In certain periods of history being

moderate is unrealistic. Gradualist trial and error won’t cut the mustard because a storm is so overpowering that it would overwhelm its centrist structures. Under the conditions of our time extremes are the only answer because of capitalism’s failure to address its contradictions. It has brought us to the point where neither liberal nor conservative solutions can nor will work. A new model of the political spectrum must be:

  • More inclusive of many more political ideologies
  • Economic as well as political
  • Able to account for qualitative leaps such as revolutions
  • Able to decenter the spectrum so that both moderate and extreme solutions would seem reasonable
  • Make room for alliances between the extremes on the political spectrum, not just among those next to each other

How the left and some conservatives might work together is because both are industrializers whose goal is to expand the productive forces. They may fight about how the wealth gets distributed but they agree that real wealth should be produced. By contrast, neo-liberals, fascists, Greens, Social Democrats, and anarchists are de-industrializers who abhor the introduction of new wealth-creation, especially nuclear technologies and city building. They are Malthusians.

We are now at the point where I can reintroduce the distinctions between the Enlightenment and Romanticism from Part I. I want to show how the Anglo-American empire, finance capitalists and the CIA shaped the New Left into embracing Romanticism.

Below is a table I developed from my book Forging Promethean Psychology which compares what the Enlightenment stands for as opposed to Romanticism.

Table A Enlightenment vs Romanticism Compared

Enlightenment (1715-1815) Category of Comparison Romanticism

(1750 – 1850)

Political – rights of man Primary Identity Cultural artistic identity
Against monarchist, aristocratic and religious

authorities. Respectful of

scientific authority

Attitude Towards Authority Critical of all authorities
Civilization brings out the best in humanity Relationship Between

Civilization and Nature

Rebellion against civilization

Wants to “get back to nature”

Value what is modern and adult Origins and development of culture and individuals Value what is primitive in cultures; the innocence of childhood
Primitive superstitious stories before humans had science

Myths were also seen as lies told by priests

What is Myth? Mythic stories hold the key to what is most important to being human

Grimm’s fairy tales

Trade was an improvement compared to control of land by kings, aristocrats and the Church Attitudes Towards Capitalism Against crass utilitarian commercialism of capitalism
Its predictability and lending itself to measurement What is Valuable in Nature? The wild, exotic and untamable
Deist – God is an engineer or watchmaker Characteristics of Spiritual Presences Pantheist – god is everywhere in nature. Birth of Neopaganism
Beauty – in symmetry with proportion

No unusual or accidental elements in art

Art Appreciation Sublime – value what is unique, striking, or new; the unusual or accidental features in art.
In the eye of the spectator What is the Arena for Judging Art? In the creative process of the artist
Progress

Quantitative gradual change

How does Change Occur? Revolutions

Qualitative change through crisis

Deliberation Planning vs Spontaneity Spontaneity
Reason should guide emotions Place of Emotion and Reason Emotions are valuable in and of themselves and should guide reason
Happiness, serenity, contentment Types of Emotional States Storm and stress

Mania and depression as signs of real living

Altered states, revelry

Confessing inner depths is bad taste Self-revelations Confessing inner depths is a virtue

Sincerity

Republican reformist Politics Revolutionary, apolitical

Conservative

Cosmopolitan

Exotic people became a laboratory for expanding theory of universal humanity

Cross-cultural Expansion Parochial

Exaggeration of the differences between cultures

Holbach, La Mettrie

Diderot, Voltaire

Typical Theorists Rousseau. Vico, Herder, Burke

The Politics of the Anglo-American Empire, The British System, Romanticism and the New left

The Old Left

As many of you know, soon after World War II capitalists in Mordor set out to destroy the Socialist and Communist parties. But the CIA also wanted to create a relatively harmless alternative to Communism by recruiting leftists who were critical of the Communist Party but did it in the name of socialist democracy. As many of you know, this began with the Congress of Cultural Freedom. Along the way, it helped to craft an ideology of the New Left that would render it harmless against capitalism while at the same time keep the Communist movement from growing back.

The heart of the Old Left was the defense of countries that were at least part way towards socialism – Russia, China and Cuba. Its economic focus was on the inherent contradictions of capitalism whether it be the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, underconsumption or the profit squeeze. Very importantly, communists were committed to the belief that Communism had to be based on abundance, which meant “developing the productive forces”. If a communist society’s economy stagnated that would introduce the temptation to steal. By producing more than enough stealing would not be an issue. As different as anarchists are from Marxists, even anarchists before the 1960s understood that abundance was the foundation for socialism.

The major social category for political organization was socio-economic class. It was only the working class that had the power to overthrow capitalism. Also, the only real democracy was economic democracy in which workers control what is produced, how much is produced and how it is distributed through centralized planning and workers’ control. In terms of political parties the Old Left advocated a Leninist vanguard party of dedicated revolutionaries.

While claiming that the workers were internationalists, in practice the Old Left political organization operated at the nation-state level. Whatever tiny ecology or changes in the climate movement existed it was not on the radar of communists. For communists’ growth of the human population was taken as given since by the second half of the 19th century and into the 1950s it seemed human productivity could easily accommodate a rising population.

When it came to the arts and psychology, the Old Left was fairly conservative. In the arts, socialist realist mural painting was predominant. In painting and music, the focus on working class life was its subject matter. In personal life, Communists usually did not drink and their appearance emulated working class clothes. Their personal life was relatively unimportant and their marriages were traditional. They were generally hostile to psychology, saw it as a bourgeois distraction from their main purpose was to work for the revolution. While most Communists were atheists, they understand that most workers were not, and they had to make relative peace with this “superstition” in order to organize workers. The CIA, and the Rockefellers set out to destroy the values of the Old left and replace  with a very different orientation to the world. Table B displays the values of the New Left, and what is equally important, how these values support and are beneficial to  the Anglo-American empire, finance capital, the Rockefellers, and the CIA.

Table B How the Values of the New Left Benefit the Anglo-American

Empire, Finance Capital, the Rockefellers and the CIA

New Left (beginning in Early 1950s) Category of Comparison Benefit to Anglo-American Empire, Finance capital and the Rockefellers
Social Democrats, Anarchists

Complaints against excessive State control

Lack of worker participation

Point on Political Spectrum All anti-communism for different reasons

Against all communist countries, planned economy

Rejection of Soviet Union, China, Cuba

 

In favor of Sweden, Norway, Denmark

Socialist Countries to Emulate Loss of international identity

with large socialist countries

 

Even socialist countries need capitalism

No – capitalism can go on forever Does Capitalism have Inherent Limits? Throws push of politics onto voluntarism

Demoralizing people by imagining capitalism is much more flexible than it is and capitalists are more competent than they are

No – we already have too much

Socialism is based on morals or sustainability: Malthusianism

Does Socialism have to be Based on Abundance? Teaching socialists to learn to do with less

Socialism based on “degrowth”

Race and sexuality: identity politics

Workers have proven to be too interested in material things to be revolutionary

Social Category for Socialist organizing Race and sexuality don’t have the work location to organize

Diffusion of focus

Small is beautiful

Anarchist decentralization or planetary society

Rejection of nation-state

Political Scale Rejection of the nation states which is the only political unit that can resist global capitalism
Makes an issue of lack of political party choices under socialism

Minimizes democratic gains under socialism in literacy, education and job security and health care

Place of Political Democracy Diverts focus of socialists into focus on tiny political parties that are never strong enough to take power
Pay attention to Mother Earth

Go back to nature

Attitude to Ecology The issue distracts from socialist organizing to overthrow capitalism Imagining ecological problems might be solved under capitalism
Earth has limited carrying capacity

Earth is overpopulated

Growth in Population Rockefeller-inspired Club of Rome report

Blaming the global south for having too many children

Anti-science Attitude Towards Science Anti-science dampens down the possibility that alternative energy sources to oil will be found
Solar and wind power

Against nuclear power

Natural Resources Big oil (also little oil) does not have to compete with nuclear power
Reject working class culture for Beat poets, happenings, youth culture (white left) The Arts Modern art is anti-working class

Drives the working-class away from art museums for inspiration

Personal is political

(radical feminism)

Relationship Between the Political and the Personal Activists become bogged down in attempting to change romance, open marriages and can focus less on political activity
Pot, LSD, peyote Alcohol – Drugs CIA flooded communities with LSD for distraction

 

Expressive hippie clothing

(white left)

 

Clothing At the beginning this created divisions between middle class and working class: organizational turn-off
Sympathetic to Freudian left – Fromm, Horney, Reich

(White left)

Attitude Towards Psychology Potential socialist organizers become psychotherapists
Alienated from traditional Christianity

Interest in Eastern mysticism, native religion

Spirituality Threatens working class with religions they don’t understand – might consider it Satanic
Romanticism Intellectual Movements Championing primitive and childlike to keep people hostile to science and technology
Idealism

Cultural, psychological: Frankfurt School

Linguistic: postmodernism

Epistemology Red herring – draws people away from economics and building a socialist party
Global warming Climate Supports de-indoctrination
New Left (began in the Early 50’s) Category of Comparison Benefit to Anglo-American empire, finance capital, Rockefellers and CIA

 Techniques Used by the Powers that be to Undermine Communism

  • If you examine all twenty categories, the purpose of the CIA and the Rockefellers was to divide and conquer:
  • Existing state socialism from the New Left
  • Class on the one hand, race and gender on the other
  • Personal life and political life
  • Clothing, physical appearance middle class hippies and the working class
  • Non-Christian religions and Christianity
  • Ecology movement and the working class

 Distracting people:

  • With sex and drugs and nihilistic or hedonistic rock music
  • With psychological preoccupations as at Esalen (The Human Potential Movement, social psychology of groups and therapy) rather than economics
  • With cultural or linguistic issues (Frankfurt School, postmodernism)
  • With romantic exoticism, primitivism, individualism

Fragmentation by:

  • Decentralizing politics from the nation-state to local configurations
  • Championing infinite diversity to weaken commonality and unity of organization
  • Treating ecology as separate from a Socialist program
  • Making art psychological instead socially inspiring

Demoralization

  • That capitalism had no inherent limits
  • Undermine belief in progress and that people should expect an abundant life
  • Pessimistic anti-science
  • There is no alternative to the Democratic Party

Demonization:

  • Of nuclear energy
  • Of all state socialist societies
  • Any international leader who wants to set their own economic foreign policy

 Qualifications

I am not suggesting that the New Left was simply a creature of the CIA and the Rockefellers. The New Left was a movement that came out of the middle class which was anti-war, anti-racist, mostly anti-capitalist and a rebellion against a conservative culture. Surely the “powers that be” did not encourage this. What I am saying is that the CIA and the Rockefellers either intervened directly as in the existence of COINTELPRO or threw money at New Left projects that suited their needs.

Conclusion

In Part II I argued that the political philosophy of the Anglo-American empire is centrism. I argued that political centrists are losing elections all over the world because centrism cannot speak to the extreme crisis that finance capital has created. Also, the linear political spectrum that houses centrism no longer works in depicting political change. I identify five characteristics a new political spectrum would need in order to be workable.

Then I contrasted the multipolar values in the East and the Enlightenment in the West to the Romantic values in depth. The reason for this comparison that Romanticism is the foundation of the Anglo-American empire’s attempt to control the potential forces of Communism in the West by shaping a New Left.

I close my article with a contrast between the Old and the New left. The Old Left of the Communist Party was a great threat to the Anglo-American empire, finance capital, the Rockefellers and the CIA. All these powers attempted to support the shaping of an anti-communist New Left. I begin with the values of the Old left. Then I identified 20 characteristics of the New Left and how each served directly or indirectly to support the powers that be against the rise of Communism. All twenty characteristics used a combination of five techniques: divide-and-conquer; distraction, fragmentation, demoralization and demonization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Bruce Lerro

Bruce Lerro has taught for 25 years as an adjunct college professor of psychology at Golden Gate University, Dominican University and Diablo Valley College. He has applied a Vygotskian socio-historical perspective to his four books: From Earth-Spirits to Sky-Gods: the Socio-ecological Origins of Monotheism, Individualism and Hyper-Abstract Reasoning Power in Eden: The Emergence of Gender Hierarchies in the Ancient World Co-Authored with Christopher Chase-Dunn Social Change: Globalization from the Stone Age to the Present and Lucifer's Labyrinth: Individualism, Hyper-Abstract Thinking and the Process of Becoming Civilized He is also a representational artist specializing in pen-and-ink drawings. Bruce is a libertarian communist and lives in Olympia WA.

View all posts by Bruce Lerro →

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