So rich in detail and documentation is this unprecedented history of the United States that I promised myself that I would review each and every chapter. Then I got side-tracked and I only managed to deliver on the introduction and chapter one. Well now I'm back with the full intention of delivering on the original pledge. If we want to get a grasp on the current state of play in US political history there is no better place to start than this explosive chapter. It's got everything; corporate fascism US style, greedy bankers holding the country to ransom, fascist plots a plenty and the revolutionary New Deal as served up by President Roosevelt. It's as if someone has pressed the replay button. All that history we have witnessed with Reagan and the two Bush's and the Clintons with Trump in the wings, it all seems to have its roots way back in the inter-war period. Just have a look at this selection of quotes to see what I mean.

He (Roosevelt) identified those responsible for the current dismal state of affairs: The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilisation. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit He(Roosevelt) called for strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments and an end to speculation with other people's money.  P46

This could so easily be a passage straight out of a Bernie Sanders election speech and it puts to shame the pro-Wall St Obama and his likely successor, Hilary Clinton.

In a similar vein S & K point out just how toxic the American banking had become;

A year later, mistrust of Wall St financiers was at an all-time high, fuelled by Senate inquiries into the banks role in precipitating the economic collapse. The investigation so far shows that some of the large banks were highly responsible for the wild stock market boom It was just a polite way of robbing the public.When the Federal Reserve Board in Washington tried to slow down the stock market boom, Mitchell, chair of the New York Federal Reserve Bank had defied the Board and speeded up the boom. He took a go to hell attitude towards the Board and got away with it. P48

Ninety years on and the US banks still have the same go to hell attitude and they're still getting away with it. If it had not been for the gigantic Bush/Obama bailouts using tax-payer's money, the whole rotten edifice would have almost certainly come crashing down. Instead the US banks have been propped up with our money but with the next collapse looking like it's just around the corner, there is now precious little tax-payers money left.

 

S & K make some biting conclusions that again have a striking resemblance to our modern day financial woes.

Magazines began calling bankers banksters. If you steal $25, you're a thief. If you steal $250,000, you're an embezzler. If you steal $2,500,000 you're a financier. Congress passed and Roosevelt signed the Emergency Banking Act, written largely by the bankers themselves. The banking system had been restored without radical change. Congressman William Lemke remarked, The President drove the money-changers out of the Capitol on March 4th and they were all back by the 9th. P 49

 

Now with Trump hovering in the wings it is not unreasonable to talk about the rise of a US style fascism rearing its head. But what many people may be unaware of, is that fascism was a real threat in the 1930's not just across the whole of Europe but in the United States itself. By dragging out this hidden part of US history S & K do their readers a real service. We all have been indoctrinated to believe that fascism was a European phenomenon and that the US came into the war to put an end to the fascist menace. S & K paint a very different picture.

There was great uncertainty about where Roosevelt was taking the country, leading some observers to compare the United States with Fascist Italy. The Quarterly Review of Commerce wrote in autumn 1933, Some see in his programme a movement towards a form of American Fascism. In fact, the tremendous concentration of power in the hands of the President and the general policy of economic planning and co-ordination of production, all strongly suggest essential features of the Italian Fascist programme.

But the fascist threat did not come from the Roosevelt administration. Far from it. There were no end of plots and manoeuvrings that sought to overthrow the Roosevelt Presidency and install a pro fascist government. S & K present a good deal of evidence to support this contention.

Paul Comly French, a reporter for the New York Evening Post and the Philadelphia Record, testified that he overheard William Doyle (American Legion) and Gerald MacGuire (bond salesman) say, We need a fascist government in this country to save the nation. The only men who have patriotism to do it are the soldiers and (Marine General) Smedley Butler is the ideal leader. He could organise one million men overnight. MacGuire had gone to France to study fascist veterans movements, which he envisioned as a model for the force Butler could organise in the United States.P64

 

With a Trump like character in the White House and another financial collapse, it does not take a great leap of imagination to see those very same openly fascist solutions re-emerging in todays United States. In fact, the fascist scapegoating of Muslim immigrants and Hispanics is already well under way. S & K continue;

Testimony revealed that Doyle and MacGuire were fronting for many of the same Morgan and Du Pont  linked bankers and industrialists who had formed the American Liberty League. James Van Zandt, national commander of the American Legion and future congressman, lent support to Butler's testimony reporting that agents of Wall Street had also approached him. P64

Then, in a damning quote from the Congressional hearings of the day, S & K bring the chapter bang up to date;

The hearings produced troubling revelation after troubling revelation. US and foreign arms dealers had divided foreign markets through cartel arrangements sharing secrets and profits and designing German submarines that were busy sinking Allied ships during World War One. More recently, American companies had been helping Nazi Germany Rearm. The committee listened daily to men striving to defend acts which found them nothing more than international racketeers, bent upon gaining profit through a game of arming the world to fight itself. P69

 

These indisputable findings from the first world war were to repeat themselves in the build up to the second. S & K duly report;

In appreciation of their efforts, the Nazi government decorated Henry Ford with the Grand Cross of the German Eagle in 1938, four months after Germany had annexed Austria, and similarly honoured James D Mooney, GM's chief overseas executive, one month later. Ford's parent company lost effective control of the company during the war years, when Ford-Werke supplied the Nazi regime with arms, employing prisoners from nearby Buchenwald concentration camp as slave labour. A report by US Army investigator Henry Schneider called Ford-Werke an arsenal of Nazism. And during a congressional investigation into the monopolistic practices of the auto-industry (it was found that) through their multinational dominance of motor vehicle production, GM and Ford became the principal suppliers for the forces of fascism as well as for the forces of democracy. P79

 

It has been well documented that since the conclusion of the Second World War, the US military-industrial complex has never been so busy. Creating conflicts and then arming both sides is its speciality. Throughout all the continents, the US arms manufacturers have been busy at work, and the so-called Arab Spring has created no end of new opportunities. And whether it be a Clinton or Trump Presidency, we can expect it to be business as usual.

End JPK Copyright, 17/6/16

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 20 May 2018 09:43 )