Open Letter to Stan Goff
First let me say that I am a fan of your writings, and I eagerly await your
dispatches from the front lines of the anti-war movement.
"This guy had boarded a plane from DC to the Land of Strom to debate
a burned-out commie vet..."
"...world that is already deeply in the grip of the very barbarism
that Rosa Luxemburg warned us about. (She was red,
"Just in case there is a temptation to resort to red-baiting
to avoid responding to the content of my arguments, let me save you the
That said, I believe that you are making a fundamental mistake by embracing
"commie"-nism in such a blanket fashion, with all the baggage that
can be attached to that philosophy. Communism has a track record, and one that
cannot be ignored in a political context. Even worse, in this country siding
with "the reds" is like shooting yourself in the foot. You marginalize
The short and sweet (of this letter) is that both unrestrained "capitalism"
and "communism" are extreme ideologies that don't work so well in
the real world, and a MIXED economy is the best practical solution for the world's
ailments. This should seem obvious when examined in more depth, and that is
what I will attempt to do here. Simply put: market forces should prevail where
they do the most good, but they should be limited by government where they do
more harm than good. This is the model that most modern states have adopted
to one extent or another, including our own. It is the nuts and bolts--and the
corruption--of deciding what constitutes "most good" or "harm"
where we run into most of our modern troubles.
I see this problem as more of a "taxation without representation"
issue in Washington D.C., than as an "ownership of the means of production"
This brings me to my first nuts and bolts problem/solution: media. Ruppert
Murdoch does not "own" our airwaves, nor does ClearChannel. Money
should not exclusively dictate what is seen and heard on our broadcast spectrum.
These entrenched media giants are doing more harm than good by misleading the
nation with propaganda, particularly war propaganda. That's the litmus test
I stand by ("First do no harm...").
Therefore, it is the right and duty of The People to reclaim our airwaves:
television, radio and others, so that with public funds we finance our own broadcasting
infrastructure that will be accessible to a greater share of The People. The
People have a first amendment right to compete in the marketplace of ideas
AGAINST Fox, ClearChannel, NBC, ABC and CBS. This requires more access
to the limited bandwith spectrum, ergo, the solution is LESS access for the
corporate media bandwith hogs.
Public universities are an obvious location for creating this public broadcasting
infrastructure. And "prime time" is what The People should demand--and
receive. The 24 hour broadcast day was not handed down to Moses from on-high.
Channel 7 can easily swith over to Public Channel 7 at 8 O'Clock on any given
day. Corporate broadcasters will kick, scream, and possibly kill to preserve
their oligarchy and their obscene profits. Tough shit.
It's up to The People to take it away from them. It's time for a revolution.
Now, I don't know how we will get from here to there. But, at least there's
a "there" we can talk about.
Here's an example of very different "there," where the state adopts
an intrusive presence in the economy. Let's say I go out to my garage and invent
the Gizmo-Plus(TM), that wonderful new device that solves a basic human problem
in a new way, combining technology and ingenuity. The Gizmo-Plus(TM) blows away
those old Gizmo-Minuses(TMs), and so I want to get these things out there in
the world and make some money for my contributions.
Here "the state" or anyone pushing "communism" can argue
that I really don't have a "right" to make money off of my contributions,
and that because we are all collectively involved in this thing called life
that I don't even have a "right" to my own invention any longer.
A state apparatchik can come along and say, "Thanks for your Gizmo-Plus(no-TM),
we'll take if from here."
After about fifteen minutes, another state functionary can decide that, "This
device is not right for our society, and its production will be terminated."
Who is making these decisions about what is "right" or "not
right," and which commodities will be made and which will be scrapped?
In a market economy, it's thousands, perhaps millions of individuals making
independent evaluations and analyses. In a state controlled bureaucracy, it's
a handful of "experts" who are susceptible to all sorts of bureaucratic
pressures, personal shortcomings, or just plain stupidity.
The tyranny of bureaucracy is no more noble than the tyranny of the marketplace.
At least in the marketplace you retain some choice in the matter.
Market forces at work in the real world have brought you an affordable desktop
computer that is pushing 4 billion instructions per second. This performance
envelope is continually climbing, into the foreseeable future.
The "communists" will (and have in the past) tell you that owning
property is a problem. I don't buy that. We have a "right" to our
own things, as twisted as this can become. "State ownership" is not
the same as "collective ownership." The state is not The People.
Our Constitution brilliantly distinguishes The People from its government,
and reserves the ultimate power with The People. It is the state that is limited
by our Constitution, the state which must prove its legitimacy, the state which
can be done and undone when it acts in opposition to the best interests of The
I just wish more of The People would read the damned thing and learn from it.
Then we could build momentum toward a more equitable world, and place limits
on government, limits on corporations, limits on the destructive practices of
capital. The founders left us a roadmap with a robust debate about the nature
of power in society.
Unfortunately, the "debt-leverage imperialists" got their foothold
here in 1913 with the Federal Reserve Act--a complete misnomer, as it is neither
federal nor a reserve, but a privately-owned printing press for our nation's
money--and the income tax scam to pay toward this perpetual debt now approaching
This takes me to problem/solution number two: kill the Federal Reserve, this
private for-profit central bank scheme. There is no reason whatsoever why our
money needs to be printed at an interest cost to the nation. The federal government
could easily print interest-free treasury notes, as it has done over the course
of our history. The fact is that the 1913 conspiracy to hijack the nation's
money supply was the third time that the international bankers had pulled this
heist. The previous two central banks were dismantled, as documented in The
Money Masters, (free
It practically goes without saying that war profiteering does more harm than
good. This is the big one now steering us toward Dick Cheney's "war that
won't end in our lifetimes." The war profiteers create global conflict
by exporting arms around the world, sometimes to both sides of a conflict (India
and Pakistan, Iraq and Iran). In a sane world, we would outlaw these practices.
At the very least we would undo the "privatized" Enron-styled accounting
of DynCorp and Lockheed Martin over at the Department of Defense. More than
3 trillion dollars remains "unaccounted for," ie. stolen, looted,
Why should the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction be a for-profit enterprise
in search of new customers around the world? Why should our nation's armaments
be sold to other nations at all? We create this market artificially through
government spending, and we can certainly control it and put an end to profiteering
if the corruption is criminalized.
Perhaps Major General Smedley Butler said it best about war profiteers:
"The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry
and labor before the nations manhood can be conscripted. One month before
the Government can conscript the young men of the nation it must conscript
capital and industry and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the
high-powered executives of our armament factories and our munitions makers
and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all
the other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and
the speculators, be conscripted to get $30 a month, the same wage as
the lads in the trenches get.
Let the workers in these plants get the same wages all the workers,
all presidents, all executives, all directors, all managers, all bankers
yes, and all generals and all admirals and all officers and all politicians
and all government office holders everyone in the nation be restricted
to a total monthly income not to exceed that paid to the soldier in the trenches!
Let all these kings and tycoons and masters of business and all those
workers in industry and all our senators and governors and majors pay half
of their monthly $30 wage to their families and pay war risk insurance and
buy Liberty Bonds.
Why shouldn't they?
They aren't running any risk of being killed or of having their bodies
mangled or their minds shattered. They aren't sleeping in muddy trenches.
They aren't hungry. The soldiers are!
Give capital and industry and labor thirty days to think it over and you
will find, by that time, there will be no war. That will smash the war racket
that and nothing else."
Smedley Butler may have overstated his case. The central idea is to make them
pay a price for their aggression. That is the way to mitigate against the lucrative
appeal of warmongering. There are many ways to create a cost for war profiteering,
and perhaps international war crimes trials would be a good place to start.
If every American would go home tonight and read the fucking CONSTITUTION
OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, then the Bush mafia would be impeached
and thrown in jail by next month. So would most of the Congress. Every congressman
who voted for the "Patriot" Act without reading it is a traitor and
guilty of high treason.
In our post-thought, post-factual, post-society however, I don't expect them
I guess the best we can hope for is strong leadership (someone like yourself)
with conviction, honesty, and the momentum to get through peoples' thick skulls.
I wish you the best, Stan. Keep fighting the good fight.
John Doraemi publishes Crimes of the State at:
No There There, Debating a Neocon, By STAN GOFF
(Un)Truth, A Trojan Jackass for the Anti-War Movement, By STAN GOFF
No There There, Debating a Neocon, By STAN GOFF
IS A RACKET, Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, USMC