[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] Re: Hiroshima and us

I have been a participant on the volunteers' listserv of marxists.org for about 16 years. I don't know if people who are not Marxists realise this, but us Marxists disagree amongst ourselves with every bit as much passion, antipathy and cognitive dissonance as anyone else. We manage this discussion and our *joint work* by simply restricting discussion to "business," so to speak. Reflecting on the past 10 years of collaborative discussion it is unmistakeable that there not been a "battle" over anything during this time and at the same time political differences have also virtually disappeared, provided we don't talk about the past!
*Andy Blunden*
On 8/08/2015 9:34 AM, larry smolucha wrote:

Message from Francine:

This thread began with Michael's suggestion that we "reflect on the bye gone days when
humans were not as skilled in mass destruction as we are now" - my comments are not
off topic.

XMCA discussions of political topics would benefit from an understanding that we 'agree to disagree' at times. Or is there only  one party line for XMCA? And are XMCA discussions
about atrocities to ignore the most glaring atrocities of the day (which just happen to be the
activities of ISIL which have not involved nuclear weapons so far i.e., the methods of the "bye gone days")?

David wants to restrict the definition of imperialism to only include the militaristic and
economic expansionism of capitalist countries. That is David's personal definition not one that is found in any dictionary. The Japanese certainly had (have) the ability to level war crimes charges against the USA especially when the Japanese economy had begun to rival and even dominate that of the USA (1970's-1980's). The German economy has been thriving for fifty years, they could (have) filed war crime charges for the inhumane fire bombing of Dresden.

And, au contriere, it is credible on the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima to reflect on the
very real possibility of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East (should Iran develop a nuclear
weapon and other Arab nations, and perhaps Turkey, feel the need for nuclear deterrents).

Some of us on XMCA grew up during the Cold War between the USA and the USSR, but other
younger members of XMCA grew up after the Cold War. That we are on the eve of another
nuclear arms race (this time in the Middle East) might seem only a vague and distant possibility.

In regard to Ulvi's comments about the main catalyst behind ISIL being Western Imperialism,
I disagree and reiterate my  opinion that the animosity between different Islamic sects
is not a response to Western Imperialism.  In a power vacuum, as in post-war Iraq after the
American troops left, there would be power plays by rival factions. The Ottoman Turks ruled
the Middle East for 1,000 years suppressing any factional uprisings. The national boundary lines
for countries in the Middle East were artificially drawn up by the British after WWI, and it is not
surprising that factions would want to create new nation states (ISIL's caliphate) or extend the reach of established entities (like Iran formerly Persia).

Ulvi remarks that in a different social order, the hostilities between different Islamic sects
could be resolved peacefully. They never have been - but it is a good conceptual exercise
to try to imagine what type of social order would bring about that 'utopian' situation.

Theodul Ribot (1900) would refer to this as an activity involving a very specific type of creativity that he called the "Utopian Creative Imagination." I mention this for those XMCA members
who have an interest in Vygotsky's theory of creativity (Vygotsky based his theory on Ribot's).
Creativity is not just for artists and scientists.

Date: Sat, 8 Aug 2015 06:35:22 +0900
From: dkellogg60@gmail.com
To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Hiroshima and us


I agree with everything you say about imperialism and I think it's a very
important corrective to a thread which risks going very severely off topic
in a way that doesn't reflect much credit on our list (I think it's really
not very creditable to take the seventieth anniversary of an unprecedented
and unparalleled war crime for which the USA was uniquely responsible to
"reflect" on the violence of one's present enemies instead).
Imperialism should not be a word we just throw around to describe any form
of international bullying except our own. It should be a very precise and
well historicized description of how advanced capitalist countries export
their capital in order to try, temporarily, to overcome the great
contradiction under which capitalism has operated since its inception and
under which it still must operate.

If capitalism was going to expropriate the surplus labor of workers without
compensation, the workers would, by definition, not be able to purchase the
products of their own labor: a national market could not suffice.
This meant that European capitalism, in order to expand, had to find
markets abroad: where the Dutch had established a trade in silver and
spices, the Americans established trade in slaves and sugar, the British
had to market textiles to India to sell opium to China to pay for cups of
tea back home. But of course imperialism only exported the contradiction,
it didn't solve it. Faced with the choice of buying Manchester textiles or
starving, the rajas and zamindars could opt for the former, but the
Bengali opium growers were soon reduced to the latter. Even in England,
workers began to consume opium because it was actually cheaper than food.

The Second World War was fought by different countries for different
reasons: in China and the USSR it was a war of national defense, but for
the USA it was essentially an imperialist war fought for the world we enjoy
today, a world where (with the exception of my former profession of English
teaching) the movement of labor is severely restricted but the movement of
American capital knows no bounds at all. When the Japanese attacked Pearl
Harbor, they were not attacking an integral part of the USA but rather a
territory which had been violently expropriated by American sugar and
pineapple planters. The Americans did not bomb Hiroshima in order to
liberate China; they committed this completely unique wartime atrocity in
order to make sure that the Pacific Ocean would be an American lake today,
and to enforce the dominance of American companies guarded and guaranteed
by the military bases which remain even today in Korea and in Japan itself.

When I read Shakespeare, I am always surprised at the emphasis he places on
kings doing their own fighting (rather than getting their unwilling
vassals, still less the common people). That is, after all, how Hamlet
begins; with two kings fighting it out man to man for the lands they covet.
I think what would have surprised and sickened Shakespeare is our own
acceptance of the idea that in any military conflict it is overwhelmingly
ordinary civilians who must die (modern technology ensured that for most of
the men who "fought and died" in Iraq and Afrghanistan fought a kind of war
game in which others had to die, and the "drone war" is only the most
extreme development of this kind of "asymmetrical warfare"). Hiroshima was
a milestone in the construction of that hideous and inhuman idea, and it
is that idea, and not the careless use of "imperialism" as an empty
epithet, which links us to Tamerlane and Genghis Khan.

When Hirohito broadcast a statement accepting unconditional surrender
almost exactly seventy years ago, what he stressed was the cruelty and
barbarism of the enemy, which according to him was bent on the unchivalrous
and random destruction of ordinary Japanese people. Hirohito said that
surrender was the only way to continue to exist. For most of his people, it
was the very first time they had ever heard his voice. It was also one of
the first times their government had told them anything like the truth.

David Kellogg

On Sat, Aug 8, 2015 at 4:56 AM, Ulvi İçil <ulvi.icil@gmail.com> wrote:

In my opinion (as an adhered atheist), the main catalyst behind ISIL is not
the presence of historically formed sects of Islam prior to imperialism,
but rather this main catalyst was imperialism, because imperialism
recreates, manipulates these for its own interests, for its dominance.

Another social order could and would provide another social, economic,
political context for these historically formed enmities so that these
would lose their hostilities and start to live as different religious
sects, cultures, with complete respect to each other, in peace, just as
different religious beliefs.

Another social order could and would cease these enmities, hostilities,
religious,racial and nationalistic, formed during the historical
development of human society.

The main problem is that humanity could seize this opportunity in the 20th
century, but used this perhaps unique and final historical chance very
badly; could not manage it properly to endure, Soviet Union and China used
this opportunity for humanity very badly.

Now it is obvious that this will have a very, very big cost for humanity
and we are just at the  beginning of this evil for humanity.

But the unique truth is still there. There is still a unique exit from this
evil: A society based on social justice and equality.

Otherwise, we are already on the edge of the extinction of humanity. In
Syria, in Ukraine, in Greece, in Europe...


On 7 August 2015 at 08:43, larry smolucha <lsmolucha@hotmail.com> wrote:

Message from Francine:

In regard to David's remark regarding ". . . what American imperialism
done to Asia"

I have to ask David, what are you referring to?  Do you consider the
American bombing of Japan
as American Imperialism against the continent of Asia? The war in Vietnam
did not affect the entire continent of Asia. Both the War in Vietnam and
the Korean War were matters of Chinese
and Russian Imperialism, as much as, American Imperialism. The
were subjected to Spanish Imperialism, then American Imperialism
(Philippine-American War of 1899-1902) and then Japanese Imperialism

There is the era of European colonial imperialism that subjugated India,
Indochina, and the "Spice Islands." Albeit the memorable role of Charlton
Heston in 55 Days in Peking,
the USA was not a major world power at the time of the Boxer Rebellion

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Muslim Imperialism into India,
and inter-Asian
Imperialism (Mongols invading China, etc.); oh yes and there was that
nasty business of Genghis Khan invading Europe.

The real issue is how to prevent (as well as stop) the cycles of violence
and the subjugation of 'other' people. Unfortunately, it seems that the
only way to stop violence and subjugation, has been with a horrendous act
(that breaks the will to continue fighting).

There has to be a better way. But what is it? Should the Allies have
negotiated a treaty with Japan after the Battle of Okinawa? -  that would
surely have left large areas of Asia under Japanese control (certainly
Korea). Where did the brutality of Japanese Imperialism spring from?

There are blood feuds that did not begin because of Western (whether
American or European)
actions - the enmity between different sects of Islam is the catalyst
behind ISIL. The slaughter of infidels and apostates is not a response to
any aggression on their part, it is because they exist.

Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 08:33:54 +0900
From: dkellogg60@gmail.com
To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Hiroshima and us

  A few years ago, I took my sixteen year old nephew to Hiroshima.
generation, Luc had no direct memory of Vietnam, but he was just
to have a sense of what American imperialism had done to Asia. He also
a vague sense that our own family was somehow involved: my father, his
grandfather, had worked on the Manhattan Project as a physics
inducted into the army.

Dad didn't exactly defend the bombing. When I was sixteen, and rather
obsessed with the uniqueness of the Nazi Holocaust, he made me read
Hersey's harrowing book "Hiroshima". Dad always claimed that the
of physicists supported Leo Szilard, who had demanded that the bomb
be used on an uninhabited island with the whole world watching, but
somehow they had been betrayed at the last minute by Robert
But Dad did say more people would have died in a ground invasion of
and so in the end he believed that the bomb saved more lives than it
When Luc and I toured the museum in the Peace Park, he was struck by
fact that the captain of the Enola Gay was only just thirty years old,
flying a plane he'd named after his own mother, and that he made the
decision to obliterate a whole city opportunistically, according to the
good weather conditions, less than an hour before the bomb was actually
dropped. A large number of those who died were sixteen year olds like
interested in the newly invented genre of manga, taking the day off
school to clear fire lanes in case the city were fire-bombed as Tokyo

We can, of course, discuss this or that comparison (who knows--perhaps
day people will consider "old age" or "cancer" as responsible for
horrors, albeit on a more extended time scale). But I think Mike's
comparison is beside the point. This kind of opportunistic mass murder
completely innocent people on an hour's notice was unprecedented and to
date unparalleled, and the reasons are technological. What my dad's
colleagues at Los Alamos had really done was to enable a rookie
and a thirty-year-old colonel to throw one switch and plunge a whole
into six million degrees of heat.

At the door of the museum, we saw a photograph of the men who loaded
bomb onto the Enola Gay at Tinian. In the centre was my father's Ph.D.
supervisor, Phil Morrison. He wasn't smiling.

David Kellogg

the. I had grown up with John Hersey's marvWhile we were touring the
in the Peace Park, I learned that

On Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 6:51 AM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com>
Mike, Rafi and Francine:

Thank you. This from the NY Times:


The article profiles the commemoration of the victims of Hiroshima,
there are two “background” issues mentioned that are worth thinking
1)  the efforts at remilitarization of Japan under the leadership of
minister Shinzo Abe, something that must give pause in light of the
“Asian holocaust”, and
2) the fact that the memory of Hiroshima is fading even among
Shinzo Abe is probably counting on voters knowing even less about the
of Nanking and the rest of what Japan did before Hiroshima.

This CHAT is a constant reminder that we forget our history at our
especially the history that puts us in a bad light.


On Aug 6, 2015, at 10:30 AM, Rafi Santo <rsanto@indiana.edu>
It's hard to know which of the two instances being discussed here
disturbing in terms of what they say about organized societies. The
dropping of the atomic bomb(s) highlights the willingness of humans
engage in specific decisions to engage in an act that they know
in instantly decimating 10s of thousands of people in a fell swoop.
asian holocaust highlights the willingness to engage in ongoing
of destruction of human life, actions which are too often both
obscure in
moment as well as not nearly as highlighted in the historical
least in case of the Asian Holocaust).

While not entirely parallel, the bombing of the World Trade Center
one on
hand and resultant contemporary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and
loss of life) come to mind in that the events have similar
terms of the meanings that are linked to them.

On Thu, Aug 6, 2015 at 12:10 PM, larry smolucha <

Please post this on XMCA:

Message from Francine:

Reflecting on the bye gone days before an atomic bomb (or
bombing) could kill
70,000 people at one day - yes it did take the Japanese in WWII
to kill  300,000 Chinese in 1937 in the Rape of Nanking, weeks to
100,000 civilian Philippine civilians in 1945 in the Rape of
100,000 civilian in 1942 in the Rape of Singapore. Total estimate
civilians and prisoners of war killed by the Japanese in WWII is
from 3
million to 10 million people (it is called the Asian Holocaust).
figure does not include those soldiers killed in combat fighting
Japanese Army.

This does not diminish the tragic suffering and loss of life in
Nagasaki, and Tokyo.

When entire cities are 'raped' for weeks not destroyed in one day
is the
suffering any less?

Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2015 08:16:39 -0400
From: mcole@ucsd.edu
To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
Subject: [Xmca-l]  Hiroshima and us

70 years ago 70,000 people evaporated in Hiroshima, a few days
as many were killed by Dresden-style fire bombing in Tokyo and
like numbers were killed in Nagasaki.

It seems worthwhile pausing for a minute to think about those bye
when we humans were not as skilled at mass extinction as we are


Both environment and species change in the course of time, and
ecological niches are not stable and given forever (Polotova &
Ecological Niche, 2008)


Rafi Santo
Project Lead
Hive Research Lab
A project of Indiana University and New York University

Indiana University - Learning Sciences