Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Workers Party

Significance of Soviet Aggression in Afghanistan and Grain Embargo

Editorial: U.S. People Must Prepare Against World War III and Fascism

First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 5, No. 2, January 21,1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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“It’s like cutting off your nose to spite your face,” shouted an angry Midwest banker. From Time magazine (known as Rockefeller’s mouthpiece) to Ted Kennedy (reputed to be a political representative of Morgan financial interests), the monopoly capitalists are summing up Carter’s grain and trade embargo on the Soviet Union as one big bust – it’s hurting the U.S. more than the Soviets.

Grain Market Closed For Two Days

As soon as Carter announced the grain embargo, the nation’s giant grain industry came to a screeching halt. The grain market would have collapsed like a ruptured balloon if Carter hadn’t closed the market for two unprecedented days. But even his last-minute, $2.6 billion plan to buy up the blocked grain contracts couldn’t brake the flood of selling that began 15 seconds before the Chicago Board of Trade reopened. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said a sweating veteran trader. In less than a minute, wheat, corn and soybean prices sank to the bottom limit the Board allows. Imagine what would’ve happened if Carter imposed a total embargo (despite the tough talk, the U.S. is still committed to shipping 8 million bushels to the Soviets).

Agriculture in the U.S. is big money, dominated by banks like First National Bank of Chicago and Bank of America and linked to big corporations like IT&T and International Harvestor and grain exporters like Cargill, Inc. The finance capitalists’ stranglehold extends throughout every pore of the U.S. economy. So when the grain crisis (or any other speculative commodity market) hits any one sector, through the medium of finance capital, it ripples fast throughout the entire economy. This intertwining of fiscal, financial, agricultural and industrial crisis, shows how deep the economic crisis in this country has been since World War II.

Only Way Out of Crisis Is War

Beseiged by crisis, and since half-steps like the grain embargo only make things worse, the bourgeoisie is forced, consciously or unconsciously, independent of their will, bit by bit into a world war to redivide the world in order to conquer new markets and new sources of natural resources.

But the fact is that the U.S. people will not tolerate a world war right now, nor are the U.S. imperialists ready militarily to enter an all out war with the Soviet Union. That’s why all Carter could do in this superpower power struggle, is stall with this half-step grain embargo.

In a recent issue (December 31, 1979) Business Week addresses the problem in getting private investors to stop speculating on Treasury notes, city bonds, gold and so on and start investing in productive industries like steel and railroads. Two roadblocks to this they say would be: 1) “war in the Middle East”, 2) “a massive flight from the dollar that would force the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to shift from the dollar to other currencies in pricing oil”.

What’s the implications of the Business Week analysis? If the U.S. sent troops to Iran, for example, the Soviet Union would certainly retaliate by cutting off the shipping lanes in the Straits of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf (through which most of the world’s oil supply ravels). This would slash the oil lifeline of Europe and Japan and these countries would crumble and go under Soviet Bosses’ rule. The U.S. dollar wouldn’t be worth the paper it’s printed on, with confidence in the dollar already at an all-time low. Facing a situation like this, there’s no way investors would pump money into long-term, productive industries and speculation would run rampant, dooming all hope for pulling out of the present capitalist destabilization and awakening of the U.S. people.

This is why the U.S. can’t invade Iran and confront Soviet aggression in Afghanistan now. If, because of internal factors, the U.S. can’t afford to fight a war in Iran, it certainly can’t fight a world war with the Soviet Union now.

To Go to World War III, Bourgeoisie Needs Fascism At Home

This is the tight bind the bourgeoisie is caught in–driven toward war by the economic crisis at home, yet unable to go to war because of the opposition at home and the collapsing state of the U.S. industrial base. For the bourgeoisie, there’s only one logical answer to this riddle – fascism at home. At present, the danger of fascism is visably growing. Why?

Unable to contend with the Soviet social-imperialists, the U.S. can give up its superpower ambition, resign itself to being a second-rate imperialist. This would mean that the U.S. bourgeoisie has to give up the hope for another round of temporary stabilization of capitalism in the West and face the immediate prospect of proletarian revolution at home, Europe and Japan. But the U.S. must act instinctively, along its imperialist nature, to fight for world hegemony and thus maintaining its rule abroad and at home.

Like a wounded beast, U.S. imperialists are desperate. It is forced now by severely limited alternatives to implement either one of two things or both: 1) to lull the Soviet Union into a genocidal attack against China and thus to drag the Soviet Union down and weaken it sufficiently so that once again U.S. imperialism, like she did in both World War I and World War II, will emerge as the number one power. This, they hope, will be the biggest Munich ever. (The Munich Treaty was signed by the Western imperialists and fascist Germany and Italy on the eve of World War II. It symbolizes the West’s, including the U.S., policy of appeasing Germany – trying to lure her away from Europe to attack Socialist Russia.)

The U.S. imperialists’ hegemony will mean the delay of the prospect for U.S. proletarian revolution and the prolonged suffering for the U.S. proletariat. But this still means a world war, even though U.S. imperialism will again be the late comer into the World War. Furthermore, this Eastern Munich will cause millions and even hundreds of millions of innocent Chinese and Soviet people’s lives.

The U.S. wants a weak China. A militarily strong China helps delay World War III and gives the world’s people time to prepare. 2) They have to take stalling actions like the grain embargo, meanwhile actively stepping up preparation for war, both whipping up chauvinism among the U.S. people and squeezing American people more for armament and build up its military base to a point, strong enough to fight the Soviet social-imperialists. This is what the U.S. imperialists are doing now. But all these steps will have devastating effects on an already sick U.S. economy. Meanwhile, militarization will bring un-dreamed of inflation–20, 30, 40, 50%. Interest rates double and triple. Joblessness will spread like the plague. Confronted with these attacks, the U.S. people’s resistance will be unprecedented and make the 30’s and 60’s seem like picnics. Thousands of Levittowns (where white youths burned gas stations protesting ripoff gas prices) will explode, a hundred times more militant. Strikes will ignite into many armed skirmishes. This inflammable situation would threaten the bourgeoisie’s rule as never before. Bourgeois democracy, capitalism’s best shell, would crumble and the bourgeoisie, in desperation, would have to impose fascism to maintain rule. We must be prepared.

Situation Qualitatively Different From 30’s and 40’s

The situation facing the monopoly capitalists today is qualitatively different from the one they faced in the 30’s and 40’s before World War II. Then, the U.S. was able to go to war, resort to Keynesian economics, without resorting to fascism at home–the extreme naked rule of the monopoly capitalists stripped of all bourgeois democratic dressing. But that was before the U.S. had irreversibly poisoned the economy with massive military spending and deficit-financing. That was before the rise of the third world countries who today, along with the second world imperialists, block the U.S. superpower from exporting economic crisis to their shores (as Iran and OPEC are doing). The bourgeoisie will not be able to preserve bourgeois democracy this time around. Just as the German, Italian and Japanese imperialists prior to World War II who had to have fascism to launch a war, the bourgeoisie has only one option. But there is another important difference between the 30’s and 50’s and today, and here lies the great hope of the American people and the people of the world. Today, after Vietnam, Watergate and the phony oil shortage, the U.S. people are more politically conscious than ever before. Shaken by the historic lever of economic crisis, the U.S. working class is waking up. And most decisive, today there is a party to lead the American people to fight for a bright socialist future – the Communist Workers Party.

Fascism means the most direct and vicious attack on the masses ever and will take all the bourgeoisie’s strength. If we can beat this back, and we are determined to, we can certainly move on to smash the bourgeois state. The murder of the CWP 5, the scapegoat tactics used against Iranians and the national red-baiting campaign against CWP members and friends are preludes to this approaching test of strength. This is the beginning of our countdown-people must get prepared.

As the bourgeoisie themselves summed up, “1980 promises to be the most critical year in at least a decade–maybe the most critical year... in a half-century.” (Business Week, December 31, 1979).