May 29, 2003 Special Dispatch No. 508

Egyptian Columnist Compares U.S. with Nazi Germany

May 29, 2003
Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 508

In the May 21, 2003 issue of Al-Ahram Weekly, columnist Samir Amin compared the U.S. to Nazi Germany and described U.S. officials as war criminals. The following are excerpts from the article:[1]

'The United States is Governed by a Junta of War Criminals'

" Today, United States governed war criminals who took power through a kind coup. That coup may been preceded (dubious) elections: but should never forget Hitler was also an elected politician. In this analogy, 9 11 fulfills function ?burning Reichstag,? allowing junta grant its police force powers similar those of Gestapo. They Mein Kampf National Security Strategy mass associations patriot organizations - their own preachers. It is vital we the courage to tell these truths, and stop masking them behind phrases such as ?our American friends? that have by now become quite meaningless.?

"Political culture is the long-term product of history. As such, it is obviously specific to each country. American political culture is clearly different from that which has emerged from the history of the European continent: it has been shaped by the establishment of New England by extremist Protestant sects, the genocide of the continent's indigenous peoples, the enslavement of Africans, and the emergence of communities segregated by ethnicity as a result of successive waves of migration throughout the 19th century…"

'The U.S. Will be More Brutal than Its Nazi Predecessors'

"The Protestant sects [which] were forced to emigrate from 17th century England had developed a peculiar form of Christianity, distinct from both Catholic and Orthodox dogma. For that matter, their brand of Christianity was not even shared by the majority of European Protestants, including the Anglicans who made up the majority of the British ruling class. In general terms, we can say that the essential genius of the Reformation was to reclaim the Old Testament, which Catholicism and the Orthodox Church had marginalized when they defined Christianity as a break with Judaism. The Protestants restored Christianity to its place as Judaism's rightful successor."

"The particular form of Protestantism that found its way to New England continues to shape American ideology to this day. First, it facilitated the conquest of the new continent by grounding its legitimacy in scriptural reference (Biblical Israel's violent conquest of the Promised Land is a constantly reiterated theme in North American discourse). Later, the U.S. extended its God-given mission to encompass the entire globe. Thus, North Americans have come to regard themselves as the 'chosen people' - in practice, a synonym for the Nazi term, Herrenvolk. This is the threat which we are facing today. And this is why American imperialism (not 'Empire') will be even more brutal than its predecessors, most of whom never claimed to have been invested with a divine mission."

"I am not among those who believe that the past can only be repeated. History transforms people. This is what has happened in Europe. Unfortunately however, American history, far from working to erase the horror of its origins, has instead reinforced that horror's hold and perpetuated its effects. This is true of both the American 'Revolution,' and the country's settlement through successive waves of migration…"

"The genocide of Native Americans was implicit in the logic of the new chosen people's divine mission. Their massacre cannot simply be blamed on the morals of an archaic and distant past. Right up until the 1960s, the act of genocide was proclaimed quite openly and proudly. Hollywood films pitted the 'good' cowboy against the 'evil' Native American, and this travesty of the past was central to the education of successive generations."

"The same holds true for slavery. After independence, close to a century had to pass before slavery was abolished. And despite the French Revolution's claims to the contrary, the fact of abolition, when it came, had nothing to do with morality - it only happened because slavery no longer served the cause of capitalist expansion. Thus, African Americans had to wait another century to be granted even minimal civil rights. And even then, the deep-rooted racism of the ruling class was hardly challenged at all. Up until the 1960s, lynching remained common place, providing a pretext for family picnics. Indeed, the practice of lynching persists today, more discretely and indirectly, in the form of a 'justice' system that sends thousands of people to their deaths - most of them African Americans, even though it is common knowledge that at least half of those condemned are innocent…"

'American Ideology is Increasingly Old and Worn Out'

"American democracy today constitutes the advanced model of what I have called 'low intensity democracy.' Its functioning is based on a total separation between the management of political life, through the practice of electoral democracy, and the management of economic life, which is governed by the laws of capital accumulation. Moreover, this separation is not subject to any form of radical challenge; it is part of what may be termed the general consensus. Yet it is this separation that effectively destroys the entire creative potential of political democracy. It castrates the representative institutions (parliaments and so forth), which are rendered impotent by their submission to the 'market' and its dictates. In this sense, the choice between voting for the Democrats or the Republicans is ultimately futile, because what determines the American people's future is not the outcome of their electoral choices, but the vagaries of the financial and other markets."

"As a result, the American state exists exclusively to serve the economy (i.e. capital, which it obeys while entirely neglecting social questions). The state is able to function in this way for one main reason: because the historical process which formed American society blocked the development of the working classes' political consciousness…"

"The combination of a dominant religious practice - and its exploitation through fundamentalist discourse - with the absence of political consciousness among the oppressed classes gives the U.S. political system an unprecedented margin of maneuver, through which it can destroy the potential impact of democratic practices and reduce them to benign rituals (politics as entertainment, the inauguration of political campaigns by cheerleaders, etc.)."

"However, we must not let ourselves be deluded. For it is not the fundamentalist ideology which occupies the command post and imposes its logic on the real holders of power: capital and its servants in government. It is capital, alone, which [makes] all the decisions, and only when it has done so does it then mobilize the American ideology to serve its cause. The means which are deployed - the unprecedented and systematic use of disinformation - can then serve their purpose, by isolating critics and subjecting them to a permanent and odious form of blackmail. In this way, the establishment can easily manipulate 'public opinion' by cultivating its stupidity."

"Thanks to this context, the American ruling class has developed a kind of total cynicism, enveloped in an outer casing of hypocrisy which is perfectly transparent to foreign observers, but somehow invisible to the American people themselves. The regime is quite happy to resort to violence, even in its most extreme forms, whenever the need arises. All radical American activists know this only too well; the only options open to them are to sell out, or one day be killed."

"Like all other ideologies, American ideology is 'increasingly old and worn out.' During periods of calm - marked by strong economic growth, accompanied by what pass for acceptable levels of social fallout -- the ruling class's pressure on its people naturally eases. Thus from time to time, the establishment has to reinvigorate that ideology using the classical methods: an enemy (always a foreigner, since American society has been decreed good by definition) is designated (the evil empire, the axis of evil), which will justify the mobilization of all possible means in order to annihilate him. In the past this enemy was communism; McCarthyism (a phenomenon which has been forgotten by today's 'pro-Americans') made possible the launching of the Cold War and the marginalization of Europe. Today, it is 'terrorism,' which is clearly just a pretext, which is being made to serve the real project of the ruling class: the military control of the planet."

"The avowed objective of America's new hegemonic strategy is to prevent the emergence of any other power which might be capable of putting up resistance in the face of Washington's injunctions. It is therefore necessary to dismantle countries which have become too 'big,' so as to create a maximum number of satellites who are ready and willing to accept U.S. bases for their 'protection.' As its last three presidents (Bush senior, Clinton, and Bush junior) all agree, only one country has the right to be 'big,' and that is the United States."

'It is Our Responsibility to Act Now, So that Washington's Neo-Nazi Challenge May be Contained and Eliminated'"In this sense, U.S. hegemony ultimately depends on its disproportionate military power, rather than on any specific 'advantages' of its economic system. Thanks to this power, the U.S. can pose as the uncontested leader of the global mafia, whose 'visible fist' will impose the new imperialist order on those who might otherwise be reluctant to fall into line."

"Encouraged by their recent successes, the extreme right now has a tight hold on the reins of power in Washington. The choice on offer is clear: either accept U.S. hegemony, along with the super-strength 'liberalism' it promotes, and which means little more than an exclusive obsession with making money - or reject both. In the first case, we will be giving Washington a free hand to 'redesign' the world in the image of Texas. Only by choosing the second option may we be able to do something to help rebuild a world that is essentially pluralist, democratic and peaceful.""Had they reacted in 1935 or 1937, the Europeans would have been able to halt the Nazi madness before it did so much harm. By delaying until 1939, they contributed to its tens of millions of victims. It is our responsibility to act now, so that Washington's neo-Nazi challenge may be contained and eliminated."

[1] Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt), May 15-21, 2003.

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