Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Space alert: Bruce Gagnon's History Gap. America is not the only imperialist.

UP FRONT News June 15, 2015
"The paper that won't be bought and can't be sold."
Published by Tom Weiss
Andrew Mazzone - Media Representative and Economics Advisor
Steven Gradman - Political Consultant
The views expressed in UP FRONT News are those of the publisher or of the contributing writer and do not necessarily represent the views of staff.
                                                   ONLY IMPERIALIST.
   Among the more politically distinctive aspects of U.S. Air Force veteran and peace activist Bruce Gagnon's recent talk at the Catholic Worker's St. Joseph's House in Manhattan was his mini-bio describing his evolution from a right wing Richard Nixonite in 1968 into a defacto ultra-leftist, a process certainly catalyzed by his time in the military. Among the anecdotes I found surprising was his account of life in the barracks, which included a room where anti-war soldiers met to talk resistance and smoke marijuana - without winding up in the stockade.
His analysis of U.S. policies aimed at gaining military hegemony in space certainly made clear that President Dwight Eisenhower's warnings about the rise of the "military industrial complex" were prophetic. As far as I am concerned, corporate capitalism, with unrestrained greed being its central feature, and violence go together - and the corporate military entertainment complex (e.g. the Arnold Schwarzenegger Syndrome) is a major contributing factor. If people like Schwarzegger, et. al. are consistently gripping firearms anf thereby sexualizing violence, why should it be a surprise when power/money-seekling gangbangers do the same?
   When it comes to the realities of history, however, Mr. Gagnon's analysis was ideologically biased. As he described - for the most part accurately - examples of U.S. militarism and explansionism, which he sees as plan to take over the world and outer space, I reminded him that the U.S. is hardly the only imperialistic nation on the planet when I asked him, "What about China?", arguably the most militarized nation in the world, with the possible exception of the human rights disaster case of North Korea, where people literally starve to death, where political imprisonment and torture are widespread and where the very well financed army parades in Nazi-style goosesteps In my question of Mr. Gagnon I made a point of mentioning Tibet, the formerly independent nation that in 1951 was invaded by Mao's People Liberation Army, the result of which has been over 60 years of brutal oppression and a genocide that, according to the Dalai Lama, has led to the deaths of an estimated one million Tibetans.
   In his reply, which made no mention of Tibet, he depicted Communist China (and Russia) as victims of American encirclement. Ignoring China's invasion of Tibet and its political and military backing of North Korea's crossing the 38th parallel separating North and South Korea in 1951, thereby starting the Korean War, and its expansionism in the marine areas in Asia, which have placed the Philippines and the Vietnamese on edge, he presented Communist China as a model of coexistence facing a bullying America and militarizing Japan.
   His defense of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin also revised history by ignoring previously Soviet-occupied Ukraine's ties to the west, which so infuriated Putin that he literally bullied the elected president of that post-Soviet independent republic into renouncing an economic agreement with the west, which in turn led to a full scale rebellion, which most certainly included some fascists who were sorry that the Nazis lost World War II. Mr. Gagnon made no mention of Crimea. And he made no mention of "Pussy Riot", the Russian rock 'n' roll group that Putin's people had thrown in jail.
In his accurate reference to the the loss of Russian lives to the Nazis - which far exceeded U.S. losses in World War - he neglected to mention that it was Hitler and Stalin who started World War II by jointly invading Poland on September 1, 1939, a few weeks after the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. (Stalin was a paranoid mass murderer but he certainly allowed himself to get sucked in by a fellow mass murderer from the West.)  It was ony after I reminded Mr. Gagnon that, in his defense of China, he made no mention of Tibet, he acknowledged that, yes, China had invaded Tibet - as if that were a parenthetical little detail.
   The reality is that greed and the obession with power and money - the very things that, as the folks at the Catholic Worker particularly well understand, Jesus and Dorothy Day challenged most consistently and uncompromisingly - are what fuel oppression and war. There is nothing that that militarists and arms merchants in the U.S. like better that saber-rattling and expansionism in China and Russia. And vice-versa!
   A major difference however, is that Robert Gagnon will in all likelihood not find himself thrown in jail for speaking his peace piece at the Catholic Worker, whereas as a Tibetan calling for peace and freedom may do some serious time in Chinese prison.
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