The War On Socialism

April 13, 2023

OPINION — Today, there isn’t a more divisive topic in American politics than economic systems, capitalism, socialism, communism or any manner of organization, which are constantly compared. However, no school of thought has become quite so ingrained in America as capitalism. Why is this?

There are several reasons for this, but most of the causes can be traced back to around the World Wars, spanning up until the present day, with the American government taking an extremely proactive stance on stifling any socialist movements, domestic or abroad, and targeting democratically elected left-wing leaders globally.

Right after the end of the war, America was thrown into a whirlwind of propaganda through the Second Red Scare and McCarthyism. Senator Joseph McCarthy would be a catalyst, claiming, in 1950, to have a list of over 200 communist sympathizers employed by the Department of State. He would go on to utilize the House Un-American Activities Committee, formed in 1938, to target communists, intellectuals and anyone who disagreed with him. 

This movement would become so powerful that the term “McCarthyism” now has its own definition in the American Heritage Dictionary. Defined as 1. “The political practice of publicizing accusations of disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence” and 2. “The use of methods of investigation and accusation regarded as unfair, in order to suppress opposition.”

Anti-communist sentiments would be intertwined with patriotism, along with capitalism. It was seen as un-American to support any other economic system, or any other interest than our [Americans’] own. We were told to report neighbors whom we suspected of harboring communist sympathy, and death threats were sent to celebrities whom McCarthy and his acolytes labeled as “Soviet sleeper agents.”

America and the Soviet Union were the world’s preeminent powers, with neither keen on being weaker by any metric. This led to the creation of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the Soviet-established Warsaw Pact, further dividing the world , even in present times.

Both nations were very interested in increasing their spheres of influence. What essentially became geopolitical tetris ensued, with American or Soviet influence being exerted over any region that was receptive. This was intended to block the other’s expansion and growth of influence across Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and South America. The United States and the Soviet Union, or rather capitalism’s interests and leftist presences, would be at odds. 

We dub this era the “Cold War” in our education system and media, but realistically, the conflict was anything but cold. While we never engaged the Soviets in a set-piece battle, through proxy wars, military aid, enabling right wing paramilitaries and political or economic sabotage, we were constantly at odds with countless nations.

Great examples of this would be the wars in Vietnam and Korea, along with our tensions up until modern times with Cuba. All of these examples saw American service members perish, fighting for American “interests” against Soviet backed entities, while not outright fighting Soviet forces in name.

Those wars and our involvement in Cuba, from our embargos to the Bay of Pigs Invasion, are very well known examples. But our desire to globally suppress leftist movements throughout the Cold War era would result in countless foreign interventions across the world. Our government refuses to allow any left-wing economic movement or system that would become powerful enough to make Americans question the viability of capitalism.

There are genuinely too many instances to fit into this article. Since 1798, we have participated in 469 interventions solely considering our military, so I will choose four instances, among many, where our sole focus was stifling a growing leftist presence.

The best examples of our meddling, while considering the content in this article, include Nicaragua, Chile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guatemala.

In September of 1973, Chile would become America’s target. The country had been a shining example of democracy in South America since the early 20th century. Salvador Allende, a socialist, was democratically elected in 1970, becoming the first marxist to hold the office of president in a Latin-American liberal democracy. 

Allende served his country for 40 years before earning his office. This platform consisted of nationalizing key industries, investing in education and improving life for the working class. He was very popular with the Chilean people, but his views on nationalization and what he represented were not popular with our government.

In 1973, the Chilean army, with guidance from the CIA, attacked the country, laying siege to Allende’s office. He would barricade himself inside and broadcast one last message to the world before taking his own life, a better alternative than falling captive to the CIA’s puppet military of the hour. 

Backed by America, General Augusto Pinochet would establish a military dictatorship following the coup; the dictatorship stayed in place until the 1990s. Pinochet’s administration would disembowel dissidents so that they sank before throwing their corpses into bodies of water. He tortured and murdered thousands of Chileans before dying while under house arrest in 2006.

Nicaragua overthrew their dictatorship in 1979 and aligned themselves with the global socialist movement, also forming ties with the Soviets. The Reagan administration was trying to make deals and conduct business with Nicaragua prior, but their decision to adopt leftist policies would result in his authorization of covert operations in 1981.

Reagan was unwilling to let a socialist economy thrive and threaten the superiority of capitalism, fearing that the success of Nicaragua would inspire similar movements in Latin America and weaken the United States’ position amid the Cold War 

The CIA would eventually train and arm the Contras, a right-wing military group within Nicaragua, giving them guidance on assisination and torture methods. The CIA even espoused psychological warfare tactics to the Contras, violating international law, and placed mines around local harbors.

Because of the United States’ actions, over 50,000 Nicaraguans perished, and a fledgling democracy was thrown into a state of extreme turmoil. Additionally, Americans were affected by Reagan’s actions due to the Contra penchant for peddling cocaine. 

The Contras were found to be supplying infrastructure and protection for cocaine sales that helped fund their radical war; this cocaine would make its way into America. CIA funding and training was used by the paramilitary group and dealers to open drug routes into Los Angeles.

Dealers like Ricky Ross made millions, turning Los Angeles into the crack capital of the world. This would then be followed by Reagan’s War on Drugs, which ravaged Los Angeles and minority communities nationally. Many Americans are still feeling the aftershocks of his administration’s crime legislation.

American involvement in the Congo began in 1960 with our government’s support of the removal of Patrice Lumumba. This is a unique case, as Lumumba did not consider himself a leftist. He started off as a democratic-socialist, but upon seeing that this would cause division among the people, he shifted his platform to one that was more focused on the nationalization of the Congo’s industries. This, however, would not stop his being labeled a communist and likened to Castro inside our defense agencies. 

This being said, Lumumba was, without a shadow of a doubt, anti-capitalist and anti-Western. His party was part of the African Nationalist movement, and would be considered Pan-African. The basis of these ideologies is the shaking off of the colonial-rooted capitalistic exploitation of Africa by the Western hemisphere as a whole, from America to France to Germany, and, in the Congo’s case, Belgian occupation.

Lumumba would become the first democratically elected president of the Congo, unifying a nation historically fractured along cultural and religious lines. In 1960, the CIA participated in an assassination plot targeting Lumumba. The Congo is considered one of the most biodiverse and natural resource laden countries, making the nationalization of their industries and dis-inclusion of western powers in their resource pools unbearable for our government.

Jacabo Arbenz was the second democratically elected president of Guatemala, following the country’s 1944 revolution against an oppressive regime. He succeeded President Arevalo, who advocated for workers rights, furthering the previous leader’s efforts around helping the working class. This resulted in the redistribution of land to around 500,000 Guatemalans, including Arbenz, who owned some of the land himself.

The United Fruit Company (UFC) owned over 40% of land in the country and controlled the only port with access to the Atlantic Ocean. The UFC had profits roughly twice the entire country’s revenue, but due to their own dishonest property evaluations to evade taxes, the UFC received compensation for their land that damaged the company. At this time, our CIA Director and Secretary of State were brothers, and had ties to the law firm that represented the UFC, even serving on the law firm’s board of directors. 

The CIA began falsely reporting a communist movement due to land redistribution, despite the fact that Guatemala was still capitalist, because Arbenz was aligning himself with some communist countries. This prompted Presidents Truman followed by Eisenhower to authorize Operations PB Fortune and PB Success, which would arm, fund and enable former Guatemalan General Castillo Armas, who was living in exile in Guatemala.

The CIA endorsed psychological warfare, and American fighter planes, flown by mercenary pilots, bombed the country. Towns became warzones, and Arbenz armed the people, creating a coalition of military-age citizens, workers’ militias and the Guatemalan Army. The Guatemalan Army would eventually become fearful of fighting due to the American presence and support of their enemies, fearing a United States invasion or more extreme support for Armas.

Arbenz would eventually be overthrown by his own officials and Colonel Carlos Diaz. The CIA began to destroy and collect any records of the PB operations, saying the records were unavailable when prompted to turn them over by Congress. These efforts would result in the final plan, PBHistory, in which the CIA attempted to prove the presence of the Soviet Union in the country to justify intervention, but the operation failed to prove any Soviet involvement. 

The Cold War was not a conflict between democracy and communism, but a war between leftism and anti-leftist sentiments emanating largely from America. We know this due to our overthrow of countless democratically elected, popularly supported leaders. This is done on the whim of the executive branch in any administration, of any political party and for reasons so trivial as a monopolistic fruit company.

The United States’ war against socialism and leftism is not solely beyond U.S. borders, as American leftists have long been a target of the FBI. The best example would be the governmental destruction of black and other minority liberation or power movements throughout the mid-20th century. 

Fred Hampton was a revolutionary leader and community organizer by his 21st birthday. As chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, Hampton, on April 4, 1969, founded the first Rainbow Coalition. 

This coalition consisted of Hampton’s own Black Panthers, Young Lords, a Latino gang turned political movement led by Jose Jimenez, and the Young Patriots, a group of working-class Southern whites. These groups abandoned fighting each other to fight the system, taking on police brutality and substandard housing. They were also leftist in their political affiliation. 

Hampton accomplished this in Chicago, which was one of the most racially divided cities in America at the time. Through his passionate speeches, charisma and ability to relate to all people, Fred Hampton was quickly becoming a revolutionary. What he did was considered impossible and would draw the attention of the FBI.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover began COINTELPRO, a counterintelligence program targeting political groups of the 1960s that were critical of the American government by being too left or “militaristic,” targeted groups included the Socialist Workers Party, the Nation of Islam, the entire New Left and the Black Panthers. The entire program severely violated the First Amendment rights of many Americans solely for having different beliefs. 

The program used informants and infiltrators inside organizations like the Panthers to spread disinformation. Agents would harass leaders and members, and sometimes violence was used on citizens when all else failed. Perjury, excluding evidence and other litigatory infractions were common methods used after trials began.

Chairman Hampton fought through every obstacle the FBI could throw at him, leaving our government no choice but to use the sword rather than the pen or informants. Hoover, his program, the Cook County State Attorney and Cook County Law Enforcement would execute a raid at 4:30 a.m. on December 4, 1969.

The officers shot more than 90 rounds at a sleeping Fred Hampton, his 8-month pregnant fiance and other leaders of the Panthers. Two were murdered, including Hampton, and two more shot. 

At the time, the Black Panthers were regarded by our government as a top threat to national security. Hampton himself was viewed as another “Messiah,” a powerful activist who was primed for national attention. The Panthers and other targeted organizations found themselves in the government’s crosshairs due largely to their beliefs in socialism or communism, which was twisted into their being made out as essentially terrorists, groups trying to tear at the fabric of our society in the eyes of some.

After the Cold War came to a close, our global involvement in targeting left-leaning presences through military action decreased, but domestically, we are now experiencing somewhat of a third Red Scare.

This third scare is different because it is based on trends inside America, specifically the growing threat that younger generations pose to Republican agendas, as young Americans are increasingly critical of capitalism and will be the biggest voting block within 10 years.

Conservative media constantly discusses how newer generations are moving further left. Young Americans are for policies like legal abortion, marijuana legalization, criminal justice reform, legalized gay marriage, issues that Republicans are dead set against. 

Republicans seem to believe that the politics of a 50-year-old evangelical from the 60s are appealing and applicable to an 18-year-old in 2023. Rather than shifting the party’s platforms to stay relevant today, everything has to be labeled “woke,” from news media to the education system, and demonized. 

This new Red Scare is especially evident in several states under Republican control. Florida governor Ron DeSantis has made it his mission to target anything that is “woke,” including drag shows, books, college and high school discussions, material taught by teachers and the beliefs of students themselves. 

DeSantis has passed reforms starting in 2021 that prohibit the teaching of racist principles and practices the country was founded on, as this is not our true history in his eyes. Governor DeSantis has taken steps to ban books that teach about socialism or communism, or that have LGBTQ characters, instead creating “Portraits of Patriotism” libraries where students can learn the “evils” of communism and adopt a whitewashed nationalistic ideology with America as the unquestioned greatest country. 

DeSantis, this year, is working to enact CS/HB 999, a piece of legislation that would remove any diversity, equity or inclusion programs at state colleges, which is worrisome as many clubs and organizations use critical race theory, intersectionality and what the legislation refers to as “radical feminist theory,” all of which would all be targeted by this legislation

Florida’s Republican lawmakers say that colleges and our institutions should not tell us what to think, then force our education system to teach us skewed or downright untrue history, while simultaneously making it harder and harder for any view they don’t agree with to survive.

This Republican attack on higher education is common across the whole country, with millions of Americans believing that colleges are “liberal indoctrination centers,” turning students into anarchists with radical socialist views that are destroying the very foundations of the country.

It could never be that getting exposed to diversity of thought, new concepts and people from all walks of life has effects on students politically.

Just like the previous Red Scares, immigrants are demonized, viewed as a way for Democrats to gain more votes or said to be stealing American jobs while simultaneously being drug dealers, despite nearly all of us having been immigrants at some point.

All of this is acceptable until political points can be scored, though, as DeSantis in particular has a penchant for trotting out refugees from countries like Cuba and Venezuela to “prove” the evils of leftist thought, alll while simultaneously ignoring how involved we ourselves have been in the destabilization and destruction of these countries for almost 100 years.

Measures that nearly every American would benefit from, like universal healthcare, are called communism. This is despite our being the only developed nation without some form of universal care. We would rather make a business out of life and death than support measures that would help the destitute and underserved. 

We allow there to be more empty houses than homeless Americans because there is no profit in giving the blessing of shelter to those who can not make the rich richer in exchange. We continually let Americans die from starvation while our restaurants and stores pour toxic chemicals into their extra food, before throwing it in dumpsters at the end of the day. We have deserts filled with un-worn clothing while people in our own towns don’t have a winter coat or socks.

Almost any initiative that would move to help those who have been trampled by our system without any return is socialism and “un-American.” Our politicians and media have weaponized the terms socialism and communism to the point where many don’t even know what they are, essentially believing that the government taking any action for the common good is moving us closer to becoming the Soviet Union. 

If our government is willing to kill Americans, topple democratically elected governments and support war crimes as long as the perpetrators are capitalists, and as long as leftism or leftists suffer in nearly every instance, they are hiding something from us. The United States has been involved in an all out war against socialism for around 100 years at this point.

If socialism and more leftist economic policies were doomed by their own nature, as we are constantly told, why has the United States made sure that non-capitalist countries suffer? Why are leftist beliefs stigmatized to the point that the common American can’t have faith in them without being vilified and labeled unpatriotic?

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    SageSep 28, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    Very intriguing and well written.