cj#756> Workers World: 100 YEARS OF U.S. IMPERIALISM


Richard Moore

Dear cj,

Despite inevitable marxist rhetoric, workers-l seems to offer reasonable
reporting and analysis, and covers issues taboo on mass media.


From: •••@••.•••
To: "Workers World News Service" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: 1898-1998: 100 Years of U.S. Imperialism
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 1997

Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the January 8, 1998
issue of Workers World newspaper


1898-1998: 100 YEARS OF U.S. IMPERIALISM

By Carlos Rovira

Although social and economic attacks on the working class
are intensifying, people still welcome the new year with
greetings of solidarity and wish each other well.

This is a tradition that, in a way, expresses resistance
to the shattering uncertainties of life under capitalism.
What could possibly concern workers more than the survival
of their families given the onslaught of layoffs, the
attacks on social programs, the racist police terror?

Yet despite everything the bosses can throw at them, much
of the working class finds a way to celebrate the coming of
the new year.

What capitalists celebrate is fundamentally different.

The rich interpret holidays, along with every other date
on the calendar, as occasions to ritualize their power.

Above all, they review the past year by evaluating
profits. Then, smiling in their exclusive ballrooms, they
discuss Wall Street's projections of profits to come--all
robbed from workers' labor.

For both classes, this new year is rich in significance.
It marks a century since the United States became a full-
fledged modern imperialist tyrant.

Profits had never before reached the height they did after

The Spanish-American War, which began with a mysterious
explosion of the U.S. battleship Maine in the port of
Havana, Cuba, on Feb. 18, 1898, opened up a new era. The war
ended with the U.S. conquest of the Philippines, Guam, Cuba
and Puerto Rico.

What followed were military interventions in China in
1900, the Dominican Republic in 1904, Honduras in 1905,
Panama in 1908, Nicaragua in 1912, Mexico in 1913, Haiti in
1915, and on and on.

The 100-year span of U.S. imperialism continues to this
day, with the murderous sanctions against Iraq and the
military occupation of Bosnia.


The capitalist class could not have attained political
primacy without robbing colossal wealth from the world's

Three hundred years of chattel slavery in the United
States had enriched the ruling classes in both the North and
the South. After the slave system was overthrown with the
Civil War, the pace of capitalist development quickened.

With the robber barons buying up industry and increasing
monopolization taking hold and with the role of finance
capital deepening, U.S. capitalism had to expand. New
markets, sources of raw material and cheap labor were

The drive to seize new territories as sources of this
wealth had begun centuries earlier, with grabs for sections
of Africa, Asia and the Americas by England, Spain,
Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Holland and other
European countries. And the United States had stolen half of
Mexico in its war against that country in 1848.

But 1898 opened up a new period in history.

Propelled by intensifying monopolization of domestic
markets and backed by the increasingly key banks, the United
States entered the competition for world markets on a
massive scale. The age of imperialism began in earnest.

The capitalist countries raced each other to seize lands
and exploit peoples and resources. Ultimately this led to
the savagery and genocide of World Wars I and II, as well as
the U.S. wars in Korea and Vietnam.

Millionaires like William Randolph Hearst, Andrew
Carnegie, Jay Gould, Andrew Mellon, Henry Clay Frick,
Cornelius Vanderbilt, J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller
foresaw great profits from expanding and directly
controlling their financial investments abroad.

Washington sought to penetrate Asia through the
Philippines, and Latin America through Cuba and Puerto Rico.

 The ruling class tried to lure U.S. workers into
accepting the aims of imperialism. The classical tactic of
divide and conquer was the principal means.

Racism and racist propaganda intensified. Academics like
Herbert Spencer presented "theories" like "social Darwinism"
that attributed poverty to "inferior" genes.


Mainstream historians present the events of 100 years ago
as remote. In fact, however, the plight of hundreds of
millions of poor, working-class and oppressed people today
results from all that occurred back then.

When the capitalists' political position was secured years
after the Civil War, U.S. troops committed to protect the
achievements of Black Reconstruction were withdrawn from the
South. From that point on, the military was consolidated
into a centralized apparatus able to repress the workers'
movement--which was demanding the eight-hour day--and in
place for the impending period of expansion.

Army Gen. Nelson Miles was sent to crush the Pullman
workers' strike in 1894. He had massacred hundreds of
Indigenous people at Wounded Knee, N.D., in 1890. Miles was
also entrusted with the task of invading Puerto Rico.

At the same time the U.S. military butchered hundreds of
thousands of Filipinos and slew masses of people resisting
invasion in Cuba and Puerto Rico, the establishment of Jim
Crow laws was systematizing racist terror and lynchings of
African Americans in the U.S. South.

In the Southwestern states, Mexicans were the victims of
widespread atrocities--most notably at the hands of the
Texas Rangers--well into the 1930s. During these same years,
Chinese immigrants and Native people suffered public
floggings and lynchings.


The 100th anniversary of U.S. imperialism symbolizes
plunder and suffering.

>>From July 25, 1898, to today Puerto Rico has remained a
militarily occupied country. Its freedom fighters are held
in U.S. prisons.

Guam and the Philippines continue to be military outposts
for U.S. ambitions in Asia.

But the Cuban people succeeded in reversing the 1898
invasion. In 1959 they overthrew U.S. imperialism's
stranglehold, then represented by the puppet dictator
Fulgencio Batista.

They established an independent socialist republic, which
continues to serve as an inspiration to millions whose
destiny is freedom.

With all the criminal acts U.S. imperialism committed in
the last hundred years, it is no wonder it is hated by so
many. But there is reason for optimism.

Imperialism cannot bring about progress. Ultimately it
creates a series of crises that destabilize it further--as
is now the case with regard to the economies of Southeast

The imperialist class is small. Workers and oppressed
peoples make up the world's majority.

The majority want freedom. Their long tradition of struggle
will eventually lead to the victorious battle against

                         - END -

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