Date: Sat, 8 Aug 2015 06:35:22 +0900
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.
On Sat, Aug 8, 2015 at 4:56 AM, Ulvi İçil <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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 <email@example.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,
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
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.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 <email@example.com>
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
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
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
million to 10 million people (it is called the Asian Holocaust).
figure does not include those soldiers killed in combat fighting
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
suffering any less?
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2015 08:16:39 -0400
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)
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