American imperialism? Frankly, I think it’s simply silly. I hope we shall wind up with a few new bases for our national defense. But everybody with a grain of sense ought to know that we plan no conquests anywhere; that we ask only’ justice’ and the’ open door’ and ’democratic good will “and peace around the world. (Senator Vandenberg on his return from the Big Four Conference, 1946)
It is remarkable that in his article of over 6,000 words which he entitles “National Liberation Today” – a broad enough canvas – Dutt can bring himself to mention the United States only three times and then only in passing references once in relation to India, once to Cuba, and a general reference to British, French and U.S. imperialists. And yet the 1960 Declaration of the 81 Parties pronounced in unmistakable and forthright terms on the leading imperialist role of the U.S.A. It is difficult to imagine how Dutt, writing what purports to be a Marxist report on the subject of national liberation, could evade referring to this in his analysis. Would it have revealed perhaps the weakness of his attack on China? Would it have taken the edge off the supposed importance for the colonial peoples of “peaceful co-existence”?
More than any other capitalist country the United States drains Asia, and especially Latin America of their riches, holding up their progress. U.S. imperialism has become the biggest international exploiter...
International developments in recent years have furnished many new proofs of the fact that U.S. imperialism is the chief bulwark of world reaction and an international gendarme . . .
The United States is the mainstay of colonialism today. The imperialists, headed by the United States, make desperate efforts to preserve colonial exploitation of the peoples of the colonies by new methods and in new forms. (Statement of the 81 Parties, November 1960, pp. 6, 22)
Today the United States plays the leading role in imperialist aggression, frequently taking over from the older imperialist powers when she can find a way to oust them or relegate them to second place as in Iran, the Congo, India and South Vietnam.
By means of “aid” schemes and by other methods the United States fastens its economic grip on the colonial countries, ruining local industries, preventing industrial growth and draining away raw materials at uneconomic prices. Its Peace Corps serves as a constabulary and espionage service in these territories.
In Latin America the United States is the main prop of the most reactionary elements which prevent the people from achieving political and economic independence. For each thousand dollars which leave Latin America, says the Second Declaration of Havana, one dead body remains. “$1,000 per life, that is the price of what is called imperialism.”
Where the peoples’ resistance begins to mount to the point of armed struggle the United States does not hesitate to step in with a show of force as in Guatemala or more recently in Venezuela, where American military missions are stationed, and where training manoeuvres of the U.S. Fleet a few yards off shore “happened” to coincide with the Venezuelan elections.
Since the war the United States has added Thailand, South Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, and Okinawa to its spheres of direct control in South East Asia.
The catalogue of U.S. oppression whether under Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy or Johnson is long. The continued subjection of the peoples of South Korea and Taiwan; the open, direct and bloody aggression against the people of South Vietnam; the oppression of the peoples of Latin America in the interests of the Banana Barons; the penetration of the Congo; the supply of arms to Savannakhet and General Nosavan to suppress the people of Laos; the attacks on the people of Panama and the organisation of armed intervention against the Cuban people.
From time to time there is in Latin America an eruption which reveals the true nature of American imperialist oppression, as in Panama recently. The New York Times of 11th January 1964 lifts the curtain on the true reason for the United States “presence”:
The Canal Zone is still a major American military centre ... United States uniformed forces in the Canal Zone number 9,750 men, including a 7,000-man Army combat brigade. These forces are there not only for the protection of the canal but also as a mobile force ready to cope with any contingency in Latin America.
The United States military headquarters at Quarry Heights, C.Z., is the Southern Command, a unified command under General Andrew P. O’Meara, reporting directly to the Chiefs of Staff ...
In recent years the United States has developed special training programmes in the Canal Zone for American military men and, by invitation, Latin American officers and men. These programmes include guerilla-warfare training by the Eighth Special Forces, an Army unit, and jungle rescue operations by the Air Force Jungle Training Centre.
United States advisory groups and missions throughout Latin America are in close liaison with the Southern Command and in some cases report directly to it. The mission of the American military units in the Canal Zone thus embraces responsibilities far beyond the problem of protecting the canal against attack or sabotage.
But American imperialism is not content merely to continue to exploit her old spheres of influence. She must add to her empire, witness the Congo, which Ernest Burnelle, Belgian revisionist leader, as recently as August 1963 was describing as “independent.” However, a more directly involved observer has this to say:
American capital is today becoming more and more the chief exploiter of the Congo. The entire economy is in its predatory grip. Having done everything to wreck the national economy, the imperialists are now rendering’ aid’ which, in reality, is nothing but direct interference in the economic life of the country. The American imperialists are trying to prevent the Congo from organising the production of even the most ordinary consumer goods. Everything from cigarettes to automobiles is imported from the United States. Even corn and rice, which the Congo always grew, now come from across the Atlantic.
The U.S. monopolies have not only invaded the Congo market, treading painfully on the heels of their Belgian and British colleagues, they are reaching out for the country’s natural wealth, investing capital in order to gain possession of the mining industry. The Rockefeller group, for example, has a substantial interest in the Bauxicongo Company and has invested 65 million dollars in the Compagnie du Congo pour le Commerce et l’Industrie. The Bank of America, the world’s biggest bank, holds 20 per cent of the shares in the Societe Congolese de Banque . . . (Mr. Mwambe-Mukanya, Congolese author, World Marxist Review, December 1963, p.50).
Do the people of the Congo look upon these as the acts of “reasonable” people, “New Frontiersmen,” who can be persuaded to modify their policy by logic and argument?
Dean Rusk, addressing the National Convention of the American Legion on 10th September 1963, explained clearly the conditions on which American imperialism would be prepared to come to terms:
There can be no assured and lasting peace until the communist leaders abandon their goal of a world revolution.
Those at the receiving end of American imperialism have no illusions about the “New Frontiersmen”:
It is out of the question for the peoples of South-East Asia, who are now facing aggression, intervention and subversion either directly or indirectly, to accept the idea that the leaders of the countries that are perpetrating all this are ’reasonable’ and ’peace-loving’.
These are the words of Comrade Aidit. But the dominant role of the United States in world imperialism finds no place in Dutt’s report. And yet the core of a Marxist analysis of political strategy is to define the main enemy!
Why does Dutt deliberately underplay the role of U.S. imperialism? Why is China the target of his attack and not the United States? Because Krushchev has determined at all costs to prove to the Americans that he can become a reliable partner and Dutt must not rock the boat.