CHAPTER 7 From John Diebold to Eugen Dühring: Rethinking ''The Third Stage of Imperialism''
< CHAPTER 6 "The Many Theories of L. Marcus": From the SWP to the Birth of the "Fifth International" (1959-1966) | SMILING MAN FROM A DEAD PLANET: THE MYSTERY OF LYNDON LAROUCHE | CHAPTER 8 Behind the Vale: The NCLC, The Next Step, and The Real Paper >
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In October 1954, LaRouche left Boston to work as an indpendent management consultant in New York City and in 1955 he became an "efficiency expert"/"systems analyst" for the New York branch of a Chicago-based business-consulting group called the George S. May Company.1 Before he arrived in the Big Apple, "Lynn Marcus" published a long article entitled "Automation" in the spring 1954 issue of the SWP's theoretical journal Fourth International (soon to be renamed International Socialist Review). In the piece – which includes citations both from Norbert Wiener's Cybernetics and Karl Marx's Capital – LaRouche argues that
LaRouche then tries to show:
LaRouche claimed that with automation it was technologically feasible "to eliminate most of the labor force in industry today. This is not science-fiction; it is fact, as more and more workers will realize shortly." Because of the enormous initial costs it takes to introduce automation – as well as the need to standardize the technology – only the wealthiest firms will be able to carry it off. Yet with a nationally coordinated "Workers and Farmers Government," the rapid "development of the means of production" would outdate "the capitalist economically and socially" so that "we can dispense with the boss and his equivalents altogether."
Selected passages from Dialectical Economics underscore LaRouche's attempt to relate this new automated world both to his day job in business consulting as well as to a future cybernetic socialist society:
DORIOT AND DIEBOLD
John T. Diebold (1926 – 2005)
LaRouche's interest in automation again takes us back to his early years in post-World War II Boston, only this time the trail leads not to MIT but to the Harvard Business School and the work of Georges Doriot and John Diebold. In the preface to his famous 1952 book Automation: the Advent of the Automatic Factory, Diebold explains that the book grew out of the Research Group on Automatic Control Mechanisms at Harvard's Business School. This project was managed by a famed Harvard Business School professor named Georges F. Doriot. Born in Paris in 1899, Doriot first began teaching at the business school in 1926. During World War II, he worked for the U.S. Army's Military Research and Development Department rising to the rank of brigadier general. Following the war, Doriot continued to teach at Harvard where he showed a special interest in applying new World War II-generated technologies to modern enterprise. In 1946 Doriot and then-MIT president Karl Compton also founded American Research and Development Corporation, the first venture capital company in history.
In the late 1940s John Diebold came to Harvard's to study under Doriot. After Automation made Diebold famous, he went on to run his own management consulting firm.5 Throughout his life, Diebold remained a critical admirer of Norbert Wiener. Diebold's ideas about automation also were intimately related to Wiener's work on cybernetics as historian Thomas Haigh notes:
In Automation, Diebold examines innovations in the machine tool industry, an industry that LaRouche too would highlight in his early economic writings. Diebold also discusses the use of computers in organizing business data as well as the need for new experts who knew about computers:
(Needless to say, LaRouche tried to market himself as one of these "capable men.")
Diebold also singled out the Marshall Plan and the development of postwar European industry for the automation revolution:
The development of new production was vital to the Cold War struggle: "It is only by increasing output per man-hour worked that we will be able to build effective defenses against the aggressive powers of communism." By so doing, the U.S. would now be able "to enlist the effective support of the peoples of the free world in this cause." In contrast, LaRouche claimed that automation only would hasten the coming working class revolution.
THE BACKGROUND TO THIRD STAGE
In 1965 during the time LaRouche was working with Tim Wohlforth's American Committee for the Fourth International (ACFI), LaRouche and Tim Wohlforth met to discuss politics. Wohlforth later recalled that LaRouche told him that he:
LaRouche's engagement with John Diebold's work as well as his critique of the "liberal" Eastern Establishment financial elite proved critical to LaRouche's pamphlet The Third Stage of Imperialism, first published in the spring of 1967 under the auspices of the West Village Committee for Independent Political Action (CIPA).10 In February of that same year, Ramparts also published its expose of "liberal CIA" control over the National Student Association.
As for the intellectual origins of Third Stage, it seems to have had many roots. It is worth keeping in mind that LaRouche was both the son and the grandson of professional business and technology consultant to the New England shoe industry. Both the shoe and textile industry were virtually eliminated as major employers in New England precisely because capital began developing factories in cheaper areas of the United States such as the American South. By the 1960s, these same industries were beginning to migrate into the developing world. In short, LaRouche had some tangible experience of the "deindustrialization" of New England in the wake of "globalization." At the same time, LaRouche had been convinced since the mid-1950s that the world capitalist economy was headed towards another Great Depression unless it developed new foreign markets to exploit.
Third Stage argued that the Western capitalist world had not entered into an era of uninhibited growth but rather into a pre-depression cycle as the increasing rise of "cancerous" speculative capital suppressed the future growth of real industrial productivity. The looming world capitalist meltdown was rooted in an "underconsumption" crisis triggered by the refusal of capitalists to continually develop new technologies for fear that they would make the "paper value" of their old holdings obsolete. What growth that did occur was largely in unproductive sectors of the economy. In Third Stage, LaRouche advanced the idea that the most sophisticated strategy for capitalist survival tended to "be comprehended only by a narrow layer of financiers whose everyday life compels them to take a world view on all important questions of their self-interest." LaRouche claimed that leading New York-based financial circles centered in organizations like the Committee on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Committee on Economic Development (CED) fully recognized the danger to the entire economic system. To avoid a crisis, they knew that they needed not just to develop new factories in the developing sector but new markets as well.
Third Stage, then, was in part LaRouche's response to John Diebold, whom LaRouche saw as a leading theorist for the advanced capitalist elite. In fact the proposed scenario of Western capital developing industry in the Third World had appeared a decade and a half earlier in Automation. Because LaRouche and Diebold's views are so intertwined, I shall quote from a section in Automation entitled "Automating in Underdeveloped Areas" at some length:
Although LaRouche never referred to Diebold by name, he labeled this strategy "trying to parachute a factory into a jungle."
As for Third Stage, its argument that the real reason the U.S. was bogged down in Indochina was because Wall Street needed to secure the Mekong River delta as a rice belt to support the industrialization of India seemed more than a little far-fetched. Yet if I am correct what LaRouche's critics did not know is that Third Stage was in some ways more the result of LaRouche's intellectual engagement with John Diebold's world as well as the world of V.I. Lenin.
Third Stage posited a split between the different strata of the capitalist ruling class. As such, it is a precursor of sorts to former SDS President Carl Oglesby's attempt to prove that there was a bitter split in the American ruling class between "Yankees and Cowboy" sectors of capital, a thesis he later made famous in his 1976 book The Yankee and Cowboy War.11 Oglesby argued that the rise of the Nixon Administration and the marginalization of the old liberal "Rockefeller Republican" establishment meant that political power was now shifting from the East to the South and Southwest.
Oglesby first developed his idea of intra-ruling class conflict in a series of articles first published in the New York Guardian in April 1968.12 In Third Stage, LaRouche stressed that the major financial center remained in New York and that the leading "military-industrial complex" and high-tech businesses developed in the Southwest remained interlinked with major New York financial institutions. Yet like Oglesby, LaRouche tried to make distinctions between different "strata" inside the ruling class.
LaRouche stated that the ruling New York-based financial elite advocated programs like Kennedy's Alliance for Progress because they operated from a more globalist perspective. They faced resistance, however, from more "backward" layers reflected in organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). This sector of the capitalist class enjoyed close ties to the anti-Communist national security and state bureaucracy and was perfectly happy to keep Latin America, Africa, and Asia as cheap raw materials suppliers. Hence they also had no qualms about propping up the most backward dictators on the planet from Nicaragua to Zaire.
LaRouche believed that this split inside the ruling class first began to manifest itself after the 1957 major recession in America. While the more sophisticated "Third Stage"-oriented faction took a benign view of Castro's Cuba, Nasser's Egypt, newly independent Algeria and other potential modernizing governments around the world, they faced fierce resistance from the more reactionary wing of capital. In a 1965 essay entitled "The Fragmentation of World Trotskyism" that appeared in the SWP's Discussion Bulletin and is a precursor to Third Stage, LaRouche writes:
The New York-based banking elite, however, still wanted to see "Alliance for Progress" controlled modernization directed from above to create new and cheaper places for factory production. But in order to develop new factories, one also needed new electrical grids, roads, a far more educated workforce and the like.
To implement this controlled modernization strategy –- sometimes associated with W.W. Rostow's famous 1961 book The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto -- meant a split inside the capitalist class as a whole. The more "advanced" layers around the "Rockefeller Republicans" and liberal/Social Democratic networks inside the Democratic Party opposed the "Philistine" factions in both parties. In a 23 September 1965 discussion during unification discussions between Tim Wohlforth's ACFI and the Spartacist group headed by James Robertson, LaRouche elaborated on his views. From the minutes of the meeting:
LaRouche's "since 1959" comment referred to previous U.S. tacit support for Castro in his attempt to overthrow the Batista regime, although LaRouche believed that after 1959 Castro had escaped dependence on American capital thanks to his alliance with the USSR.
At a later point in the discussion, LaRouche further elaborated his argument:
But who were the agents of this new "Third Stage" but the bankers, CIA liberals and other members of the ruling class. In order for them to succeed in their mission, they had to topple the more backward elements in developing nations. In Third Stage, LaRouche describes this process:
For just that reason:
In this ongoing struggle between the "liberal" capitalist financiers and the more "backward" sectors of the bureaucracy, LaRouche saw advantage of the Left:
But what would happen if these same liberal capitalists failed in their mission to find new zones of exploitation? Since these same financier and banking interests had to maintain the value of the speculative paper economy at all costs, they would be forced to reduce the living standards of the American working class through harsh austerity measures and increasing state regulation of the economy. In Third Stage, however, LaRouche still thought that there would be no serious resistance to planned modernization from anti-Wall Street elements in the broader U.S. business community:
Thus during his early left days, LaRouche really did seem to believe that only some form of socialist revolution could ward off a major capitalist crisis should the capitalists fail in their attempt to generate new and more modern spheres of exploitation in the developing world.
The notion that advanced capitalism was doomed to a breakdown crisis lay at the heart of LaRouche's economic theories. Yet as the NCLC began to forge its own peculiar links to the far right, concepts from Third Stage were reinterpreted to justify the new policy. In retrospect, then, one even can see the theoretical foreshadowing of a potential coalition between the NCLC and the radical right at work in The Third Stage of Imperialism even though it would be an intellectual blunder of the post hoc ergo propter hoc variety to read Third Stage as in any way advocating such a policy.
In Third Stage LaRouche is particularly fascinated by the division of different sectors of bourgeois society when faced with an economic crisis. While LaRouche at this stage does not make a radical division between "finance" and "productive" capital, he is concerned with the possibility that attempts by the more advanced banking interests to create vast new markets in the Third World would necessarily lead to protests by right-wing and "latifundist" "dinosaurs" in both the advanced and developing nations. Should these more "advanced elements" represented by the internationalist-oriented bankers and financiers succeed, however, the threat of imminent capitalist depression in the advanced sector could be postponed. If not, the strong possibility of a new 1930s-like economic depression now loomed on the immediate historical agenda.
There is no hint that a leftist organization should (or even could) ally with the international bankers -- much less the right-wing dinosaurs –- in Third Stage. Yet in 1973 the NCLC extended "critical support" to the Nixon Administration, which the NCLC claimed was being "watergated" by big capital acting through the CIA. The "real enemy" now became the liberal banking elite which was supposedly furious at the philistine Nixon for not imposing austerity policies fast enough. NCLC "critical support" for Nixon would also provide an initial ideological rationale for the Labor Committee's pivot to the "populist" radical right.
Although a full discussion of this question can be found in How It All Began, the debate over whether or not the NCLC should orient towards what might be broadly described as a liberal "anti-Nixon" "Pop Front agenda" occurred in 1970-71. The so-called "Bavarian" tendency around Steve Fraser promoted a policy of active orientation towards the trade union and peace movements and argued that the period of capitalist expansion into new markets was still ongoing.
Against Fraser, LaRouche claimed that the window for bourgeois expansion into new markets that he had hypothesized in Third Stage was over. The monetary pressures on the capitalist sector meant that capitalists had to push for a new series of wage and price controls on the working class. To participate in any Pop Front formation, even "critically," would encourage the working class to lose its ability to independently resist the coming "liberal" assault on living standards.15 This idea of incipient fascism and emerging political crisis – which the Fraser tendency dubbed "Pantherism" – was supposedly confirmed on 15 August 1971 when the Bretton Woods gold standard exchange system officially ended. The abolition of the Bretton Woods agreement was interpreted by LaRouche as an acknowledgment that his "economic collapse" perspective now was proven fact.
In 1971-72, the NCLC first launched a concerted attack on the "Popular Front" with special emphasis on the CPUSA, which it saw as the central "left" component of any new Popular Front formation. While Carl Oglesby with his "Yankee/Cowboy War" argument advocated some kind of SDS rapprochement with the Eastern Establishment, LaRouche gradually adopted the exact opposite strategy. Over time, the NCLC tried to form alliances with reactionary elements in both the U.S. and abroad against the "Trilateralist" "globalists."
The idea that finance capital was the root of all evil would soon crystallize into a mad demonization of the Rockefeller financial group. By 1974-75 at the latest, the NCLC also entered into a tactical alliance with some far right forces such as Hitler fan Willis Carto's overtly anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby. The Labor Committee simultaneously courted the most "hard-line" elements in the East Bloc as well and fiercely attacked "Eurocommunism" as a "liberal CIA"-backed plot against the Soviet Union.
The NCLC's political gambit ideologically corresponded to a radical sharpening of the alleged division of good "productive" or "industrial" capital against "parasitic" "finance" capital. By the mid-1970s, "finance capital" was increasingly seen not as the lifeblood of the capitalist credit system but a virus bent on destroying capitalism itself and plunging the world into a feudalistic "New Dark Age." Private investment bankers now became members of a new kind of "caste" formation, the vestigial but deadly relics of a pre-industrial capitalist mercantile society that still parasitically imposed itself on the larger productive "real economy."
FROM MARX TO CAREY
During the 1950s and early 1960s, LaRouche developed his own unique economic worldview based on an interpretation of capitalism that emphasized that it remained inherently unstable and had not escaped the threat of economic collapse in spite of various Keynesian-inspired "stabilizers" to the system. As a Marxist, LaRouche viewed capitalism as a transitional system between feudalism and socialism. The productive powers of mankind were advanced by capitalism in a revolutionary manner until the moment came when the "social relations" of production based on private property ownership turned against the "real economy" and everything imploded. By the mid-1970s, however, LaRouche began shifting from a Marxist interpretation of capitalism to what he labeled the "American system of economics" ostensibly based on the writings of Hamilton, Franklin, and the Philadelphia-based Carey family as well as famous German "Zollverein" economist Friedrich List. LaRouche now critiqued Marx for his failure to appreciate both List and Carey as major political economists.
Both List and Carey stressed that Adam Smith's laissez faire vision depended on a "rigged" argument. Although Smith called for free trade he did so in the context of a vast British commercial and territorial empire that favored British goods. The British used their financial might to encourage potential economic competitors to remain "raw materials" and agricultural producers whose trade would feed British factories, not challenge them with cheaper goods. British capitalism, in short, actually encouraged "underdevelopment" and not the modernization naively lauded in The Communist Manifesto. Meanwhile, what development that did occur was largely dependent on financing from the London capital markets. With his uncritical embrace of the "Manchester School of Economics" as the only viable template for advanced capitalist development, Marx had fallen for the propagandists of the Manchester School and failed to deal with the real political economy of the 19th century.
In response to the British "free trade" threat, "national economists" like List and Carey developed carefully state-sponsored planned industrialization policies which would at times include using protectionist methods to challenge British industrial and political hegemony.16 In The Liberal Ideal and the Demons of Empire, the historian Bernard Semmel writes of List:
List's co-thinker Henry Carey, an Irish-American Whig economist, viewed England's actions not simply from the prism of the American experience but also from British policy towards Ireland. Carey argued that the British had kept Ireland deliberately backward and agrarian in what we would today call a "neo-colonialist" relationship. Carey argued that:
In the mid-1970s, the NCLC – reflecting in part the broader collapse of American radicalism – began searching for a new strategy for revolution. Abandoning the classic model of worker-based revolution, LaRouche also abandoned Marxism. Instead, the NCLC now tried to identify "anti-Rockefeller" and "anti-finance capitalist" elites in foreign governments. This quest also led the Labor Committee to try to ally with far right "nationalist" groups and governments around the world, a policy theoretically undergirded by LaRouche's twisted version of "the American system of economics."19
FRIED AND WIRSING
The notion that there were good productive capitalists in conflict with "finance capital" has led to some very curious politics. In The Making of an Atlantic Ruing Class, Kees van der Pijl point out that:
According to van der Pijl:
In the wake of World War I,
Van der Pijl concludes his analysis:
By the mid-1970s, the NCLC pushed an argument highly similar to that of Wirsing. The new "line" – interestingly enough – was largely developed when LaRouche was living in Germany, where he also met with Willis Carto. Although LaRouche presented the "American system" idea as a more sophisticated critique of errors in Marx, he managed to overlook the fact that Engels had written a famous book Herr Eugen Dühring's Revolution in Science, (better known as Anti-Dühring) attacking Dühring, a notorious anti-Semite who happened to be Carey's leading German promoter and author of works such as Carey's Umwalzung der Volkswirtschaftslehre (1865) and Die Verkleinerer Careys(1867). Although it must be stressed that neither Carey nor List were anti-Semites, it is hard to believe that LaRouche somehow didn't know that Carey's leading German advocate just happened to be a dreadful anti-Semite.20
In the mid-1870s, Dühring’s ideas exerted an enormous influence on the Berlin wing of German Social Democracy (SPD). Dühring became so popular that Marx asked Engels to write Herr Eugen Dühring’s Revolution in Science (best known as Anti-Dühring) after Wilhelm Liebknecht warned them repeatedly about Dühring’s growing influence. Dühring was championed by, among others, the young Eduard Bernstein as well as by August Bebel. The SPD was so much in Dühring’s camp that the pro-Dühring faction actually forced Anti-Dühring not to continue to be run in a series in the party paper but in a more obscure SPD theoretical journal.
Dühring was one of Germany’s leading anti-Semites. At first, Bernstein – who knew Dühring personally – thought this was some peculiar quirk and he didn’t take Dühring’s ideas on Jews seriously. Engels joked to Marx that Dühring was incapable of elaborating his views “without dragging in his repugnance to tobacco, cats and Jews.” Yet Dühring went on to write on of the most influential anti-Semitic books in 19th century Germany, his 1881 opus, Die Judenfrage. The book went through numerous editions and helped shape the most extreme wing of German anti-Semitism which is saying a lot.
Die Judenfrage’s claim to historical fame is that in it for the first time ever in print, Dühring hints that the Jews really should be eliminated totally from Germany since measures such as social ostracism or restrictions on marriage and such may not be enough to prevent their corruption of the body politic. In Die Judenfrage and his earlier economic works, Dühring tries to dismiss Marx as yet another Jew influenced by the Jew David Ricardo (“a hero of the stock exchange”) who brings a Jewish view to economics. Thus spake Dühring: “The economizing Jew, no matter whether so-called Socialists or not, value Ricardo in a characteristic way as the greatest national economist whom Adam Smith does not equal.”
Dühring considered himself an expert on the mathematics of infinity and wrote about it and counting numbers and such in such works as Cursus der Philosophie (1875). Dühring’s 1861 doctoral dissertation is also on space, time and math. It is called De Tempore, Spatio, Causalitate atque de Analysis Infinitesimalis Logica. Nietzsche and Dühring even got into a feud about the nature of infinity, infinite regress and counting numbers. (Some of this controversy may provide cultural background for Cantor’s future work on the mathematics of infinity.) For us, however, the question is less lofty. The NCLC developed its “discovery” of Carey and List as somehow being superior to Marx while LaRouche was in Germany. It was also while he was living in Germany that LaRouche held secret discussions with Willis Carto of the Liberty Lobby/Institute for Historical Review even as the Security Staff cultivated the Liberty Lobby connections since at least the fall of 1974. Carto also had strong German connections; like LaRouche his wife is German. There was also a German publishing house which closely worked with Carto as well, the Tūbingen-based Grabert Verlag.
Did LaRouche somehow independently discover Carey and List out of the blue, so to speak, while he also independently embraced anti-Semitism? One has to ask if it is also likely that neither LaRouche nor the Germans had any idea that the leading Carey/List promoter in 19th century Germany happened to be Eugen Dühring? The role Dühring played in popularizing Carey was never mentioned in NCLC publications. But did the “American System” that LaRouche so promoted in the mid-1970s actually speak with a German accent?
A somewhat similar analysis of "finance capital" also can be found in Lenin who – in turn – drew heavily from J.A. Hobson, the author of the famous 1902 book Imperialism. Hobson believed that Victorian England had been manipulated into war with South Africa thanks to the machinations of "a small group of international financiers, chiefly German in origin and Jewish in race."21 They constituted a critical section of the class of "finance capitalists." In Hobson's view,
Bernard Semmel points out that Hobson believed that
Lenin would take Hobson's analysis of rentier capital and make it a critical argument in Imperialism: Highest Stage of Capitalism. Similar ideas about "parasitic" groups would later be reformulated into the notion of an "outsider" or "comprador class" in modern dependency theory. The historian Hilmar Kaiser points out that in the mid-1960s "dependency theory" arose as a radical critique of more modernization theory. Echoing the ideas of List and Carey with a neo-Marxist twist, dependency theory
Dependency theory translated "an overtly nationalist rhetoric" into a new vocabulary "which exhibited the theoretical influence of Weberian or Marxist class concepts. Dependency theory left enough room to accommodate nationalist notions of social development." Kaiser further shows that various versions of dependency theory were used by anti-Armenian Turkish nationalists on both the left and right as ideological justification for persecuting Armenians in much in the same way that Jews were made scapegoats:
Looking back at Third Stage some four decades later, it first must be stated that it is very much a product of its time. LaRouche's take on Diebold's ideas of industrial development and his broader riff on modernization a la the Alliance for Progress are not unique for the period. At the same time, his speculations on the splits inside the capitalist elite are mirrored in other leftist discussions at the time such as Carl Oglesby's exploration of the idea of deepening rifts in the American power elite. Seen from a broader perspective, however, Third Stage can be viewed as part of a transitional period in LaRouche's personal history as well as in the history of the Labor Committee as a whole. From this point of view, Third Stage may stand as a mid-way marker between the worlds of John Diebold and Eugen Dühring.
1 In a brief letter to the editor that appeared in the January 1958 issue of the National Association of Accountants' NAA Bulletin, LaRouche lists himself as "Executive Engineer in Charge of Client Services for the Eastern Division of the May Company." As for the George S. May Company, it had been founded in Chicago in the 1920s as one of the first business consulting firm in the United States. In the early 1950s, the company greatly expanded its operations after it decided to specialize in consulting for medium and small size companies with some 50 to 500 employees.
2 Lyn Marcus, Dialectical Economics: An Introduction to Marxist Political Economy (Lexington, Mass: D.C. Heath, 1975), 442.
4 227. The vision of a fully automated factory first entered into popular discourse as far back as the November 1946 issue of Fortune magazine when Fortune featured a large color spread on the "Automatic Factory" along with a highly-influential article entitled "Machines without Men." See David Noble, Forces of Production: A Social History of Industrial Automation (New York: Knopf, 1984), 67. On the potential role of computers and automation in socialist state planning, see the appendix "Machines of Communism" in this study.
5 In the 1960s Diebold served as the director of the CIA-supported International Cybernetics Association. On the CIA and the foundation – originally entitled The American Society for Cybernetics – see Flo Conway & Jim Siegelman: Dark Hero of the Information Age: In Search of Norbert Wiener, 329-31.
6 Thomas Haigh, "Inventing Information Systems: The Systems Men and the Computer, 1950-1968," The Business History Review, 75: 1 (Spring 2001), 32.
7 John Diebold, Automation: The Advent of the Automatic Factory (New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, 1952), 124-25.
9. Tim Wohlforth, In These Times (10/29-11/4 1986).
10 The preface for Third Stage is dated "March 26, 1967." West Village CIPA also took out a small ad in the National Guardian announcing its appearance. Parts of Third Stage would be reprinted in Donald C. Hodges (ed.), Readings in U.S. Imperialism (Boston: Porter Sargent, 1971). Porter Sargent had been LaRouche's friend dating back to the early 1940s. (For more on Third Stage, see How It All Began, chapter one.)
Shortly after Third Stage was published, LaRouche wrote an 11 June 1967 letter to the staff of the National Guardian at 197 East 4th Street. The letter was written at the time of the June 1967 Mideast War and LaRouche seems to have hoped that the National Guardian would publish it. (LaRouche may have thought that if the letter were published, it would serve as an incentive for Guardian readers to buy a copy of The Third Stage of Imperialism.)
LaRouche argues that the Left was hopelessly confused about the real origins of the war with some cheer-leading the Arabs and others the Israelis. In reality, Egypt attacked Israel because it faced "a mountain of debt service." For Nasser to escape economic crisis, he had only two options. The first was to establish a real United Arab Republic so he could get access to oil and in the process drive up oil prices. The second option was to threaten to create such a united Arab state in order to scare the Western imperialists into giving him concessions. Therefore Nasser used a relatively low-grade conflict between Israel and Syria over water rights as a pretext to declare "a phony war" to shake down the West. Israel, however, took advantage of the "phony war" to declare "a real preventive war" against the Arab states.
LaRouche said that for years the Arabs had schemed to squeeze out more oil revenue from the West. Yet every time they tried, imperialism – "via the CIA" and related groups – sets up coups by colonels, sheiks, and "what have you" to overthrow the threatening regime. In response, leaders like Nasser needed to create "an Arab Holy Alliance" against the CIA. Yet when such things happen, "ideologically charged" issues "often far removed" from real material concerns frequently become involved in the equation. So the issue of Israel more or less functions as a pretext for the Arab states to unite ideologically [although if I am reading LaRouche correctly, the real reason to unite is the extraction of higher oil revenues from the Seven Sisters oil cartel]. Because of Israeli oppression of Arabs both inside Israel and out [the Gaza Strip], an oppression which is worse than the way U.S. blacks are treated in cities in the north of the United States, there is a lot of popular resentment against Israel. Yet the real issue for Nasser isn't the conquest of Israel but rather the need to establish some kind of Arab military confederation to gain access to oil revenue. So Nasser launched his "phony war" and telegraphed his punches and as a result got caught flat-footed in the Israeli blitzkrieg attack.
Now as it so happens, Nasser is one of imperialism's "best successes in this period." Nasser's Egypt is a national revolutionary capitalist comprador regime. Nasser's Egypt, therefore, is a "Bonapartist regime." As such, it is very close to what "Development Decade" imperialists like. [In other words, they can carry out their controlled modernization policies under such a government.] But the 1967 actions by Nasser may have gone "too far" for the imperialists. On the other hand, it is also possible that the Israelis acted independently. Therefore the real question that radical journalists like those in the National Guardian should be trying to answer is to what extent the imperialists sanctioned an Israeli strike because they felt Nasser had gone too far or was it also possible that the Israelis retaliated on their own without being sanctioned by the West. So far then, LaRouche concludes his letter, the answer is "not yet clear."
11 Carl Oglesby, The Yankee and Cowboy War: Conspiracies from Dallas to Watergate (Kansas City: Sheed Andrews and McMeel, 1976).
12 Oglesby's articles were related to a famous incident inside SDS and discussed in New Left Notes at the time. Through the daughter of a wealthy businessman, Oglesby had been introduced to Eldredge Haynes, head of Business International. Haynes and Oglesby began a "dialogue" which led to joint meetings with SDS members the role of SDS which Oglesby describes in great detail in his recent memoir Ravens in the Storm. For more on Oglesby, see the appendix SDS: Three Puzzles at http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.HIABChapter3Appendix2SDS3Puzzles in How It All Began at http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.HIAB.
13 L. Marcus, "The Fragmentation of World Trotskyism," SWP Internal Bulletin, 25 (14), 37. LaRouche dates his article as written on 9 August 1965.
14. From "Conversations with Wohlforth" (Marxist Bulletin No. 3), publication of the Spartacist League.
15 For a deeper appreciation of the Labor Committee's hostility to Eastern Establishment-style liberalism symbolized by McGeorge Bundy's Ford Foundation and New York mayor John Lindsay, see the discussion of the Labor Committee and the New York teachers' strike in How It All Began at http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.HIABcover.
16 This form of argument has obvious echoes in the debates inside the Soviet Union between the NEP economists linked to Bukharin who wanted to encourage a free market against the Left Opposition "heavy industry" grouping around Trotsky whose policies Stalin eventually adopted in the 1930s.
17 Bernard Simmel, The Liberal Ideal and the Demons of Empire (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 68-69. This is an invaluable book. Equally invaluable is Roman Szporluk, Communism & Nationalism: Karl Marx versus Friedrich List (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988).
19 For these ties, see the discussion of the Labor Committee's links with the far right in Argentina in the chapter on LaRouche and Norman A. Bailey posted on LaRouche Planet. Also see Dennis King's website for a discussion of this same issue as well as Dennis King's book Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism. Also see the chapters posted on LaRouche Planet on "Unity Now," Roy Frankhouser, and Mitch WerBell for LaRouche's ties to the domestic American far right.
20 It is even possible that the NCLC "discovery" of Carey came after LaRouche first encountered Dühring although this is obvious speculation. It is equally possible that NCLC research on both Carey and List led back to Dühring. LaRouche's attack on Marx as a Ricardian dupe of sorts can be found in both Carey and Dühring. Dühring also played a significant role in Marx's life as well as we have noted. (At one point Marx was grateful to Dühring because Dühring was one of the very few German academics to review volume one of Capital when it first came out.)
I confess that I write the above with some dread as I do not believe that LaRouche's political evolution depends on his discovering a secret far right book that some anti-LaRouche counter-conspiracy buff might think "explains" everything. My point here is that when the NCLC did begin to examine the concepts associated with "the American system of political economy" the group had clear models in both List and Carey who were not anti-Semites. Yet the NCLC went down an obviously anti-Semitic path and by so doing recreated either by accident or wittingly the same kind of worldview so painfully evident in Dühring. Given that the NCLC always conducted elaborate historical research on hot topics, I find it improbable that someone in either Germany or America didn't realize that Carey's leading German intellectual advocate was Dühring, who – it so happened – for a significant period of time also maintained close ties to the early SPD. Yet in the "goldfish bowl" world of the NCLC, there was never any discussion of the way Dühring incorporated anti-Semitism into his worldview.
Dühring's role and influence in 19th century Germany remains a topic that demands more specialized research than what currently exists, in part, I suspect, because Dühring's ties to the early SPD may be embarrassing for leftist German academics. In Nazi Germany, Alfred Rosenberg drew heavily from Dühring, who lived until 1921 and saw the rise of a Dühring Society. A well-educated anti-Semite named Alexander Jacob wrote a book entitled Eugen Dühring on the Jews. It includes a translation of one of the many editions of Die Judenfrage. We quote from Jacobs' lengthy intro:
And again from Jacob on the close ideological ties between Dühring and Rosenberg:
21 Simmel, 111.
24 Hilmar Kaiser, Imperialism, Racism, and Development Theories: The Construction of a Dominant Paradigm on Ottoman Armenians (Ann Arbor, Ml: Gomidas Institute, 1997), 38.