A Marxist argument for America First!

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    • #498548
      Ohio Barbarian
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      • Total Posts: 25,301

      The slogan “America First” was first uttered by President Woodrow Wilson running for re-election in 1916. It was part of the argument for putting American interests first by staying out of the Great War then raging in Europe and on other continents.

      After World War I ended, and the economic power of the United States grew, the term became synonymous with isolationism and non-interventionism outside of the Western Hemisphere, which even the isolationists of the time considered “America’s back yard,” subject to the control of the growing American Empire. They pretty much stopped there, though.

      Isolationists heeded George Washington’s warning to avoid entangling alliances and refused to ratify the grossly imperialist Anglo-French Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations, which the British and French Empires intended to use to maintain their own hegemony, not any of the high-minded goals which were advanced at the time.

      We all know the story of how isolationism was discredited by the rise of Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire, preventing American intervention in a war against regimes so horrific that they made the British and French imperialists look humane in comparison. After World War II, it was systematically taught that isolationism was dangerous appeasement, and that anyone actually using the term America First! was a crank.

      The first president to get elected using the slogan in his platform since Herbert Hoover was in fact a crank, namely Donald Trump. He used it mainly in describing how much the US spends on arming and maintaining NATO, which supposedly exists for the benefit of Europe, in comparison to its European allies.

      When he was accused by the Clinton campaign of coddling up to Russia, Trump responded with “Why can’t we get along with Russia?,” which was actually a good comeback. For most Americans, the answer was “Yeah, why not?,” and the 2016 election was driven more by contempt for Hillary Clinton than any foreign policy issue, and she quite deservedly lost.

      In short, I don’t think Trump really knows what he means when he says “America First!,” but it is definitely the time for the US to withdraw from its overseas empire and start actually doing something about the colossal problems at home.

      Empire does nothing for the vast majority of the American people. The working class, except for the lucky few civilians directly and indirectly employed by the military-industrial complex, is hurt by Empire for the simple reason that resources which could easily pay for housing, health care, education, and generally make America a nice place for them to live and work in are spent on weapons, weapons research, and endless war.

      Now, the clinically insane neocon dream of global American hegemony has driven the world to the brink of nuclear war. Recent events have somewhat lessened the chances for that, but there was never any valid American national security reason to try to expand NATO into eastern Europe at all, much less into Ukraine, which anyone who knew anything about Russian history knew would provoke Russian military intervention.

      Just what good, I ask, has American Empire and intervention done for the American working class since World War II? I’m talking about actual arms and troops going to foreign countries. Did the Korean War improve the American economy? Obviously not, for Truman remains the Least Popular President Ever in the 1952 opinion polls.

      Did killing over a million Southeast Asians and 58,000 Americans in Indochina help the American working class? Did bombing Belgrade? Did intervening in Somalia? Did the destruction of Libya? How’s stealing Syrian oil keeping gasoline prices down? How’d the Afghan and Iraq Wars raise their standard of living? Did arming the Shah of Iran? Does arming Israel and Saudi Arabia?

      How is funneling tens of billions of dollars to Ukraine helping solve any of America’s economic and social problems?

      America First, meaning that the needs of the American people need to be addressed first before our government tries to “help” others, is a powerful and attractive rallying cry. It makes sense. After all, what right have Americans to tell other people what kind of government or economy they should have when we live in a place that can’t even maintain its own public infrastructure, to name just One Big Glaring Thing that isn’t being tended to at home.

      The Marxist argument is obvious. Addressing the needs of the working class at home should be the number one government priority for Marxists. Ending the Empire and US military intervention cannot help but improve the lives of our working class brothers and sisters around the world as well as our own.

      After this rapacious kleptocracy we Americans call a federal government is finally overthrown, and we get our own house in order, then we can help other countries if they ask for it and working class Americans are agreeable. Until then, the United States has no business telling other nations how to run their affairs, and America First! can be a working class-wide slogan, not a tool of a buffoonish oligarch or a bogeyman to frighten children and justify war for profit.

      Link to Substack original here

      Never let your morals stop you from doing the right thing.--Isaac Asimov

      The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them.--Julius Nyerere

    • #498549
      MizzGrizz
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      • Total Posts: 3,929

      ..I lean more toward the Southern populist end of the political spectrum,but in foreign policy I am a total isolationist.

      Engagement with the world,in terms of trade and diplomacy,is one thing,but meddling in other countries just to protect American corporate investments is something else again.

    • #498550
      Junker
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      • Total Posts: 503

      The working class get to pay for Empire with taxes, austerity and the blood and minds of their children.

    • #498552
      closeupready
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,792

      We know that foreign leaders are coerced into steering their states’ foreign policies into lanes running parallel to US Empire interests. And that both the GOP and Democratic Party work to protect and advance interests of the 1% at the expense of the 99%. So supporting either party is simply voting for more fiscal pain.

      Sorry, but I’m not doing that.

      The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.

    • #498561
      jbnw
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 9,912

      I wish that Americans were somewhere in the list.

      Though the county did provide at least 33,500 tents and tarps – which helps identify the number of people with a little help and how far the government is willing to go.

      https://pamplinmedia.com/pt/9-news/560354-448652-lawyer-sidewalks-blocked-by-multnomah-county-tents-tarps?tmpl=component

    • #498567
      Mr. Mickeys Mom
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 8,339

      Four NO’s, It didn’t, and two more NO’s!  Goddamnit, that’s the fucking answer!

      Hell, no... I'm not giving up...

    • #498597
      roody
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 585

      Ten years ago, it was a well-maintained, large campground with showers and bathrooms.  Now the bathrooms are locked.  No camping takes place.  No water comes out of the spigots.  The picnic tables are rotting.  The campsites had plenty of room, not like the normal rv parks of today.  The nature is lovely, but I couldn’t help think of the wasted resource while we send billions off for war.

      • #498601
        Ohio Barbarian
        Moderator
        • Total Posts: 25,301

        For me, it was driving under a bridge coated with rust and with electric cables strung loosely underneath it. They could fix that for less than the cost of one missile sent to Ukraine.

        Never let your morals stop you from doing the right thing.--Isaac Asimov

        The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them.--Julius Nyerere

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