War is a racket. It preserves the racket of capitalism.

June 26, 2012


The US Marine Corps most highly decorated general in its history, Smedley Butler (1881-1940) wrote a biting and scathing indictment of capitalism and the role of the US military in preserving it. It was called “War Is A Racket” (1935). But it is important to understand that the political economy we call capitalism is a racket that depends upon its military to preserve it’s capacity to steal from everywhere benefiting a few people in the West, in this case, the USA, while outsourcing incredible amount of pain and suffering to other people and the earth.

Wikipedia: “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Nothing constructively durable can emerge in such a political economy thru its electoral and litigation processes. A humane culture arises from a decentralized people’s nonviolent revolution, radically downsizing our consumption patterns, while re-learning cooperation and sharing in thousands of bioregionally based food sufficient communities.

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