Postmodern Imperialism – An interview with Eric Walberg

November 12th, 2011

Linked on our blogs with Eric Walberg, Canada. – Published on Global, by Eric Walberg and Jonathan Reynolds (an anthropologist who writes for and author of two books on the Maya and Guatemala), November 10, 2011.

… Q: Isn’t it true to say that, dialectically, what is sought by Marx and by communism is something opposite to materialism, a utopia that has as its defining meaning a kind of spiritual quality, in the sense that human beings, and human society, are what is important, rather than capital?
A: See what I said about Marx’s dialectic earlier: material -> theory -> material-theoretic. It’s oversimplifying to accuse him of utopianism.  

Q: What should be the nature of social transaction, in an ideal world? On what should it be based? What is the good society?
A: See Robert Wright’s non-zero sum argument. Definitely, a good society should get rid of interest, or at the very least, interest and money should be controlled by a truly broad-based popular government. The logic of anti-capitalism follows from that.

Q: Economists who write about causative factors behind the ups and downs, bubbles, crises, and so forth we have seen and are seeing do not mention – at least in what I have read – this insistence on the dollar as a profound strategy by American imperialists (e.g., the bankers). You have a degree in economics from Cambridge. Did you study this phenomenon as you describe it at Cambridge?
A: I did a thesis for my BA/MA on financial intermediaries in Canada from the Depression to the 1960s. Whatever independence the Canadian government had with respect to economic policy was lost as US banks took control. Re the collapse of the dollar, many economists write about the coming demise of the dollar as world reserve currency. See Stiglitz.

Q: You describe – again, well-sourced and referenced – how American imperialism not only has condoned but participated or directed drug smuggling.
A: Shocking but true. But then the Brits promoted opium in China and no one seems to care much. The evidence is overwhelming throughout the Great Games.

Q: Your assertion about hedge fund attacks on Greece [p 111]. I had not heard of before. Is this not a big enough story to warrant insisting, if possible, that major media like the New York Times take a look at this?
A: I quote the Wall Street Journal on this (endnote 37): “Some heavyweight hedge funds have launched large bearish bets against the euro in moves that are reminiscent of the trading action at the height of the US financial crisis. It is impossible to calculate the precise effect of the elite traders’ bearish bets, but they have added to the selling pressure on the currency – and thus to the pressure on the European Union to stem the Greek debt crisis.” You just have to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Q: How do you reconcile your defense of Islam with your Marxism?
A: I think I’ve made my position as a freelance monotheist and someone who uses Marx but dislikes slots and -isms clear above. Islam is the only monotheism that firmly rejects imperialism in practice, which is why it is targeted today and why anti-imperialists must understand and defend it. It provides a vision of a coherent alternative to imperialism. As for whether Islam and Marx are compatible, in my conclusion, I point out: “The Judaic prophets, followed by Jesus and Muhammad, and the nineteenth century secular prophet of revolution Marx, rejected usury and interest, as representing ill-gotten gain, with good reason. Marx condemned this mode of extraction of surplus as the highest form of fetishism, based on private property and exploitation of labor. They all rejected this exploitation on a moral basis as unjust, insisting that morality be embedded in the economy, a principle which was abandoned when capitalism took hold. While Judaism and Christianity adapted, Islam did not.

“Interest, and today’s money based on US military might alone, are the root cause not only of the current world financial crisis, but, as a corollary to Rothschild’s dictum about money and politics, and Clausewitz’s dictum about politics and war, the primary instrument facilitating (and benefiting from) the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia, and the world political crisis.”

So Marx seems to have rediscovered the wheel. Marx is a joy to read, full of spirit and humanism, very moral. (full interview text).


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