Books: 1. Art and Revolution: Ernst Neizvestny and the Role of the Artist in the USSR 2. Neo-Capitalism in Australia 3. The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx 4. From Odessa to Odessa 5. The Roots of American Foreign Policy: An Analysis of Power and Purpose

Australian Left Review, Feb 2014

Milliss, Roger, Kirk, Robert, Kirsner, Douglas, Cantrell, Leon, Playford, John

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Books: 1. Art and Revolution: Ernst Neizvestny and the Role of the Artist in the USSR 2. Neo-Capitalism in Australia 3. The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx 4. From Odessa to Odessa 5. The Roots of American Foreign Policy: An Analysis of Power and Purpose

0 ART AND REVOLUTION: Ernst Neizvestny and the Role of the Artist in the USSR, by John Berger. Penguin , 191pp., $2.10, illustrated EVEN in his surname there is an irony of particular aptness for such a man as Ernst Neizvestny: its literal m eaning is “unknown". Today, this sculptor who m ight in all modesty claim a front-line place in the ranks of Soviet art is virtually “unknow n” in his own country. One of the few artists to have stood up defiantly to a Soviet Prem ier to his face and got away with it, he has been reduced almost to anonymity through his suspension from the Artists' U nion. M embership of th at Union is essential for any professional artist in the USSR, perhaps more so for a sculptor than a painter. T hrough the Union he obtains a studio, official commissions and, most im portantly, m aterials. A painter can buy most of his requirem ents in a shop, bu t if a sculptor cannot get his stone or bronze through official channels, then he will have to obtain it illicitly - even on the black m arket - as Neizvestny has been forced to do. In addition, the Union is the only avenue through which exhibitions can be arranged. W ithout mem bership of the Union, then, an artist is virtually unable to communicate with a mass public. Lacking the facilities and privileges endowed upon members of the Artists' Union, Neizvestny uses as a studio a tiny disused shop in a back street off Marx Avenue in the centre of Mos­ Many stories embellish the circum­ stances of Neizvestny’s confrontation with Khrushchev over the famous “ab­ stract” art exhibition at the end of 1962. Berger gives a full and authentic account of this extraordinary episode, which could have happened only in the Soviet Union. A group of young experim ental artists had arranged an exhibition of their work, containing by W estern standards nothing particu­ larly daring, under the auspices of the Moscow City Soviet. After a few days the exhibition was closed by the Artists' Union and moved to a small annex in the huge Manege building near Red Square, where a vast and com prehen­ sive retrospective display of the work of Moscow artists over the previous 30 years was on show. Khrushchev and other government and party leaders came to “inspect” the “abstract” exhibition at the invitation of conservatives in the Artists’ Union, who led the Soviet leader and his en­ tourage around the hall, pointing out what they considered to be the most offensive items. T he artists were lined up beside their works and Khrushchev abused them in the most insulting p er­ sonal terms, most of them cringing be­ fore the lash of his tongue. W'hen he got to Neizvestny, who was branded as the ringleader of the project, the sculp­ tor stood his ground, telling the burly statesman: “You may be Prem ier and Chairm an but not here in front of my works. Here I am Prem ier and we shall discuss as equals”. A m inister with Khrushchev threatened to send Neiz­ vestny “to the uranium m ines” and two security men seized his arms. T he sculptor then announced: “You are talking to a m an who is perfectly cap­ able of killing himself.” As Berger says, “ the formality of the statement made it entirely convincing”: Neizvest­ ny was released and he and the Soviet Premier engaged in a reasonably dis­ passionate and rational discussion. Why has Soviet art officialdom adopt­ ed such a hostile attitude to Neizvest­ ny? According to Berger, it is not be­ cause he counterposes “private” and “public” art. In fact, he does not: he believes profoundly in sculpture as “m onum ental” art, being intended for wide, open spaces and constant public perusal. R ather, says Berger, they see a threat to themselves in both the nature of his work and the way in which he goes about it. It is his gen­ eral refusal (there are exceptions) to adopt a conventionally declamatory and rhetorical style and his pursuit of his own individual themes — as well as his indifference to the bureaucratic sys­ tem of the official art world — which irritate the powers-that-be. Berger traces the roots of this official attitude through the development of Russian and Soviet art, culm inating in the emergence in the late 20’s and early 30 s of an artistic orthodoxy which des troyed completely the revolutionary dynamism and experimentalism which put early Soviet art in the forefront ol world art. T h e establishment of the Soviet Academy of Fine Arts — an elite body of some 30 members — and later of the Artists’ Union itself in the early 30’s enshrined this orthodoxy in the mystique of “Socialist Realism" — which Berger regards as little more than an extension of the trad i­ tional Russian naturalism of the 19th Century In effect, what Berger is challenging is the whole system of patronage ol the arts and literature in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. This system has indeed brought the arts down from their ivory tqwer, has made culture the property of the peo­ ple and has created a vast new literate and, in varying degrees, educated p u b ­ lic brought up to regard art and the artist with hitherto unknown respect and even veneration. T he m aterial security which social­ ism has provided for practitioners in the arts has not yet solved the question of artistic freedom; in many respects it has obscured and complicated it. And u ntil socialism can guarantee the w riter or artist not only the freedom to write or p aint what he likes b u t also the opportunity to publish or display his product, the tensions and conflicts which have plagued the arts under socialism for the last 30 years will re ­ main and we can only unhappily ex­ pect more examples of the tragic Pas­ ternak, Kuznetsov and Neizvestny kind. T he most interesting and certainly the most controversial sections of Ber­ ger’s book are those in which he as­ sesses Neizvestny's work and its signi­ ficance. By contem porary western standards, he writes, and even by those of Soviet sculpture in the 1920’s, there is nothing innovatory or way-out in Neizvestny's style (this in itself makes the hostility of the Soviet art estab­ lishment to him even more incom pre­ hensible). Rodin is obviously one of his m ajor influences, and the nearest western parallel Berger can draw is with Henry Moore. In fact, he con­ siders that, historically, Neizvestny’s style could be placsd in the period of 1915-25. H e thinks, too, th at there is a considerable unevenness in the sculp­ tor's work and th at often it is unsuc­ cessful and unsatisfactory. But Neiz­ vestny’s peculiar significance he sees as lying in his attitu d e to death. Berger contends th a t his h a ir’s-breadth escape from its clutches made Neizvestny see death as not an end b u t a “startingp o in t’’ — in other words, th at life is to be measured not by its proxim ity to death, but its distance from it. In the bulk of his work, exemplified by the torments and conflicts wracking the bodies of his figures, Neizvestny is basically concerned with the struggle to stay alive, to survive: his theme “is the them e of endurance”, says Berger, and again: “Today the hero is the man who resists being killed”. Berger concludes from this th at Neiz­ vestny’s sculpture represents “a phase in the struggle against imperialism”. T hough he covers himself by allowing th at Neizvestny’s art also “reflects both his own personal experience and a gen­ eral situation in the U.S.S.R.”, and does not attem pt to m aintain that Neizvestny himself is consciously aware of the relationship of his art to the struggle of the th ird world, neverthe­ less the statem ent is too sweeping. R ather it could be said th a t what Neizvestny has succeeded in portraying are the dilemmas, conflicts and suffer­ ing of people everywhere, whether caused by the pressures of frenetic capitalism, the naked plunderings of imperialism, or the bureaucratic aber­ rations of the contemporary socialist states. It is this universal agony it seems, and the endurance and deter­ m ination necessary to overcome it, that Ernst Neizvestny, unknown and u n ­ sung, records and celebrates. R o c e r M illiss NEO-CAPITALISM IN AUSTRALIA, by John Playford. Area Publications, 55 pp., 85c. T H IS EXCELLENT empirical survey reads as if it were w ritten with two wellknown injunctions of Lenin in mind: “politics is the concentrated ex­ pression of economics . . . politics can­ not b u t have precedence over econom­ ics” (“Once again on the T rade Un­ ions,” .S'.ir. New York Vol. 9, p. 54), and “few questions have been so confused deliberately and undeliberately, by rep­ resentatives of bourgeois science, ph il­ osophy, jurisprudence, political eco­ nomy and journalism as the question of the State” (A Lecture on the State). Indeed after reading Playford one is tem pted to conclude th at members of A ustralia's power elite work on the principle enunciated by Mao Tse-tung th a t “political work is the lifeblood of economic work, this is particularly true at a tim e when the social and economic system is undergoing fundamental change.” (Quotations p. 35). W hat are Playford’s own views on these questions? In the first place, he is convinced th a t A ustralian capitalism has definitely entered a new phase: a corporate system interlocked with the state machine which if unchecked will see the creation of a consensus which includes only the powerful and the ruthless. T rue, the new phase — "neo­ capitalism” — is relatively underdevel­ oped by comparison with France, but it has a strong ideological backing " from both Gorton and W hitlam , with their obsession with “modernisation and centralisation. Moreover, neo­ capitalism is flourishing in the fe rtile seedbeds of a non-revolutionary trad* AUSTRALIAN' I.EI T REVIEW tion, early embourgeoisfication of the m ajority of the working class, and the complexity of modern public adm inis­ tration and economic planning. In the second place, Playford is particularly scornful of the “socialdemocratic'’ theory of its State. As he says, “ the achilles heel of the social democratic theory of the state is that it separates politics from economics. Labor leaders present a false picture of two contending social forces — eco­ nomic power concentrated in the hands of a small group of people not res­ ponsible to public control, and demo­ cratic political power to be found in Parliament, Cabinet and the Public Service.” Playford does two things to this theory. He demonstrates th at when W hitlam talks about the Labor Party "getting into power” he is really talk­ ing only about “getting into office.” Power lies not with parliam ent, but with the various sectors of the econom­ ic power elite which ru n neo-capital­ ism. Second, he shows th at economic power dominates political power. Here, however, he does not relapse into a crude view of the state as simply the “Executive committee of the ruling class.” R ather, as Marx and Engels both pointed out, there are periods in which the State bureaucracy exercises a fair degree of autonomous power, and that in certain situations the public service can obtain support from trade unions to im plem ent policies which may meet the disapproval of corporate capital. One quotation from Karl Marx would have been very useful to guide Playford’s analysis at this point: “Bureaucracy is a circle no-one can leave. Its hierarchy is a hierarchy of information. T h e top entrusts the low­ er circles with an insight into details, while the lower circles entrust the top with an insight into w hat is universal, and thus they m utually deceive each other . . . the universal spirit of b u r­ eaucracy is the secret, the mystery sus­ tained w ithin bureaucracy itself by hierarchy and m aintained 011 the o u t­ side as a closed corporation.” (K. Marx, “Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of the State” (1843) in L. D. Easton and K. H. G uddat, Writings of the Young Marx on Philosophy, and Society, p. 185). W hat Playford’s work shows is that a theory of the state today, while in its essence complying w ith L enin’s view that politics is the concentrated ex­ pression of economics, needs to cover situations of fluidity in relations be­ tween the corporate bureaucracy anti the state machine. T his involves a judicious m ixture of the best insights of Marx, Lenin, C. W right Mills (on the Power Elite) and J. K. G albraith (with reservations, on the New Industrial State). W hat this means in practice is that despite Playford’s impressive empirical contribution as set out in this monograph we still lack a sophisti­ cated study of A ustralian bureaucracy in sociological terms. Whoever em­ barks on this project will have the benefit of Playford’s monograph as well as Caiden’s Commonwealth Bureau­ cracy. T he missing link, so far as the internal economic system is concerned, is the analysis of the detailed account of the working of individual organs of the state bureaucracy in their relation­ ships with corporate and trade union bureaucrats, as well as the many quasi — legal “islands” such as tariff board, various boards anad commissions, etc. This is not to deny that Playford has got a fair way along the road to a full analysis. In parts 4 to 7, he sketches the growth of “co-ordinating” and "advisory” committees with m em ­ bership draw n from the m ain echelons of monopoly-capital, encouraged by Commonwealth aggrandisement and pre-emption. T his is a piece of research on which the author is to be warmly congratulat­ ed. B ut the volume as a whole still stops short of being a full M arxist or neoM arxist ajialysis a£ “neo-capitalism” in AUSTRALIAN I.FTT REVIEW its analytical aspect. W hat importance for example, are we to attach to the notion of a "rising surplus" in the corporate sector? How is the level of surplus determ ined and how is it dis­ tributed among industries? Since Playford does not like Galbraith's notion of a leading role of the "technostructure", w ith what would he replace it under A ustralian conditions? Playford has been criticised by Ted W heelwright (Outlook, October 1969) for giving insufficient attention to the penetration of the Australian economy by foreign capital and the consequent exertion of pressure on government from foreign capitalists. Certainly such pressures exist, as Jack Kelly's Struggle for the N orth demonstrates in the case of the Vestey m eat empire. It is also true th at in the future, a great deal of state action will be directed towards guaranteeing monopoly surplus profits for foreign corporations. However, considering that Playford has been concerned mainly with bringing the story of neo-capitalism up to the pre­ sent time, this is not an im portant criticism, since the new system is as yet underdeveloped. Australia still has many aspects of the traditional system of vested interest group organisations operating on a num ber of central eco­ nomic command posts and on ad hoc agencies of regulations. These are still the hub of the system. T rue, the de­ velopment m entioned by W heelwright is now growing up, side by side with this system. But the older system still persists and Playford was right, as a political scientist, to concentrate on it. Playford has returned to the high tradition of Smith, Ricardo and Marx in joining economic and political con­ cerns into political economy. Students of economics who are tired of fashion­ able economic toys (“m ultipliers,” ac­ celerators etc.) will learn more about the A ustralian economy from this m on­ ograph than from more fashionable and esoteric studies in quantitative methods. In the coming months there is likely to be considerable discussion in this journal and elsewhere of a new p ro ­ gram of the Communist Party. One section of this analysis considers m od­ ern capitalism and another discusses the state and political power. From this angle, Playford’s Neo-Capitalism in Australia is absolutely essential back­ ground reading — and not only on the “em pirical” front. R o b e r t K ir k THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT OF KARL M ARX, by Shlomo Avineri. Cambridge University 270 pp., $7.40. Press, IN T H E GENERAL VIEW, Karl Marx is the founder of the present social systems of the communist world. Most of those calling themselves “ Marxists” know only the vulgarisa­ tions of marxism constituting the offi­ cial communist ideology of “MarxismLeninism" or Dialectical Materialism. If Marx is read, it is often against this background. T h e writings of the “young" Marx, which have only recently become widely known, show Marx as the true heir to Hegelian thought. M arx’s con­ cern here is w ith a philosophy whose realisation demands its abolition, with a class of alienated men whose own emancipation means the emancipation of all. T he dogmatic marxist ideolo­ gists claim that Marx was not then yet a m arxist, and th at it was only with th e Communist Manifesto th at Marx attained m aturity. In this way the “young” Marx can be neatly tacked on to the “m ature” Marx some of whose writings, together w ith anno­ tated selections from Engels and Lenin, form Marxism-Leninism. AUSTRALIAN LEFT R EM EW In the book under review, Dr. Shlomo Avineri, a well-known Hegel and Marx scholar, at the Flebrew U ni­ versity of Jerusalem, conclusively shows to be false the bifurcation of Marx into a young, hum anist liberal and a revolutionary devoted solely to the study of political economy. Avi­ neri demonstrates th at Marx's change in emphasis from philosophy to cri­ tique of political economy indicated the fulfilment of a plan sketched out in his early writings. In 1843, Marx wrote his Critique of H egel’s Philosophy of R ig h t in which the distinctive patterns of his later work were evident. (Avineri provides the first major discussion of this Critique to be published in English.) Accord­ ing to Avineri, Marx, in this work, made much use of Feuerbach’s "trans­ formative m ethod’’ which substituted “m an” for “God”, immanence for Hegel’s transcendence, thereby tu rn ­ ing Hegel on his head. However Avineri overrates the im ­ portance of Feuerbach in the devel­ opm ent of M arx’s views since Marx had used “Feuerbach’s transformative m ethod’’ two years before he became acquainted w ith Feuerbach’s work. In M arx’s Letter to his Father (1837) Marx wrote — and this passage is actually quoted by Avineri — “If the Gods have dwelt till now above the earth, they have now become its centre.” (p. 8) T he aim of the Critique is, accord­ ing to Avineri, “to prove th a t H egel’s inverted point of departure made it impossible to reduce theory to prac­ tice” (p. 14) Marx finds th at "the need to look into the contradictions of social life is a direct outcome of the inner contradictions of Hegelian philosophy as they come to light through transformative criticism.” (p.16). T he prim ary criticism of contem­ porary society for Marx is th at m an ’s relations are reified — a man is first a “capitalist”, “labourer”, “scientist ", etc., who incidentally is also a human being. Marx writes, “ Man is not a subject (in modern society), but is being identified with his predicate class.” Avineri adds, “ Marx has thus arrived at the discussion of social class purely through a Feuerbachian critique of philosophy.” (p.27) WThere Hegel rationalises the m od­ ern state through the agency of a “u n i­ versal class” of bureaucrats, as em ­ bodying the interests of everyone, Marx finds in the bureaucracy a licence for particular interests. T h e section of con­ temporary society which does embody m an’s universal interests is the “class of concrete labor” — the proletariat. For Marx, says Avineri, “the p ro ­ letariat was never a particular class b ut the repository of the Hegelian universal class”, (p. 62) In his later writings this view remains. For Marx, “W hat was at the outset a philosophi­ cal hypothesis is verified by experience and observation. T h e universalistic nature of the proletariat is a corollary of the conditions of production in a capitalist society which m ust strive for universality on a geographical level as well.” (p. 61). Labor, in M arx’s view, is man's specific attribute. F utu re society will not abolish labor, b u t alienated labor, which is the subsum ption of man u n ­ der the conditions of work. Avineri points out th at “even if the division of labor will after all be necessary, one m an can find joy and satisfaction in another’s occupation, provided the social structure is oriented to such possibilities.” (p.232) M an is a social animal. T h e relationship of lovers in which the satisfaction of the one is dependent on th at of the other, may represent in microcosm the eroticisation which will be m an in comm un­ ism. Avineri's discussion on Marx’s a tti­ tudes to revolution is most instructive. Marx opposes terror, which is, to quote Avineri, “less a means towards the realisation of a revolutionary aim than a mark of failure.” (p.188) T he communist revolution will abolish civil society by realising that univer­ sality which civil society itself cannot realise. Jacobinism, however, only ne­ gates civil society since it does not totalise its achievements. Marx viewed the substitution of one elite no m atter w hether it called itself “socialist” or not, for another, as no advance to­ wards communism since m an and soc­ iety are still juxtaposed to one another. Marx opposed the Paris Commune which he considered “in no way soc­ ialist, nor could it be,” although he called it an epoch-making break­ through in organisation. Unlike E n­ gels, Marx never called it a "dictator­ ship of the proletariat.” Avineri’s de­ scription of the stand Marx, as a leader of the International, took on practical issues shows Marx to be a far more cautious revolutionary than his p re ­ sent “disciples” m ight believe. In fact the relation between m arxian theory and its practical implications is seen by Avineri to point to a basic weak­ ness. T h e theory which called for a proletarian movement could not guide it w ithout vulgarisation of the theory. T h e political movements "had to emancipate themselves from many of the most outstanding and brilliant of M arx’s intellectual achievements and replace them by simplified vulgarisa­ tions and a wholly uncritical rever­ ence towards the father of the move­ m ent.” (p.251) But Avineri is right here only if Marx is wrong about man. A uthoritarian political struct­ ures cannot bring socialism, but are these the only possible structures for revolutionaries whose associations with one another should represent those of the state of affairs for which they strive? Despite its price this book should be read by all considering themselves “marxists.” Avineri looks afresh at w hat Marx actually wrote, w ithout confusing his work with th a t of his disciples such as Engels. Avineri througli a fascinating and thorough exam ination of M arx’s work (includ­ ing the Grundrisse as yet untranslated into E nglish), has found in it an essential unity. D o u g la s K ir s n e r . FROM ODESSA TO ODESSA, by Judah Waten. Cheshire, 198 pp., $4.75. JU DA H W ATEN was born in Odessa, in w hat was then Im perial Russia, in 1911. W hen he was a fortnight old his parents migrated to Palestine and then, three years later, to Australia. T h e family settled in Perth and Judah W aten has been an Australian ever since. l o r some time in the 1930’s he lived in London and in 1958 he visited the land of his b irth for the first time, as a member of an A ustralian writers’ delegation. Professor M anning Clark, one of the other members of th at dele­ gation published his impressions some years ago in a book called M eeting Soviet Man, and now Mr. W aten, who has since 1958 revisited the USSR sev­ eral times, has published a sort of composite account of his Russian ex­ periences. From Odessa to Odessa describes the W atens’ journey to the USSR, the long train journey from Berlin through country-side th at still shows the scars of the German advance and retreat in the last war, their experiences in Mos­ cow: the meetings w ith Yevtushenko and Ehrenburg, the visits to the theatre and the lunches at the W riters’ Union. T h e rest of their trip to Odessa is re ­ counted via Leningrad and Kiev, and again they meet and talk with writers and prom inent Jewish intellectuals. Obviously the visiting A ustralian w rit­ er was something of a celebrity in the USSR, and this sentence, describing the W atens’ arrival in Kiev, is a good indication of the sort of people they met: “Quite a delegation was waiting for us, including Mr. Kazimirov from the foreign departm ent of the U krain­ ian W riter's Union and Yechiel Falikman the Yiddish novelist.” A few pages later a conversation between W aten, a Ukrainian journalist and Kazimirov is recounted: “T he poet-journalist said rath er an­ grily: ‘Yevtushenko’s Babi Yar is a memorial, a finer more living memorial than a monum ent. Everybody can see it, in all lands. W here in the West has a famous poet m ourned the loss of five million Jews? If I am not wrong th e much celebrated English poet T. S. Eliot wrote an anti-semitic poem before the war. D idn't he write: T he rats are underneath the piles The jew is underneath the lot. Kazimirov said: ‘T here is a new book w ritten about Babi Yar by Anatoly Kuznetsov.’ I had not heard of Kuznetsov. He was very talented the poet-journalist said. We must look out for his book.” In view of what has happened to Kuz­ netsov presumably since this book went to press, this is a quite remarkable passage. T he defection to the West, the widely publicised and b itter de­ nunciation of conditions u nder which Soviet writers must work, these events are not foreseen by such a passage; nor, in fact, by the book as a whole. T here is a discussion of a young poet, Joseph Brodsky, “who had first been sentenced to five years forced labor and exile and later released after serv­ ing less than eighteenth m onths”, and Mr. W aten speaks strongly of the sort of anti-Communist effect such actions produce in the West, even among left­ ist elements. U nfortunately we are not told why Brodsky was sent to prison or to what extent the charges against him can still be regarded as viable; simply th at “it isn’t good policy to jail prom ising poets who happen to be unorthodox." T here is no m ention of Sinyavsky and Daniel, the two most widely p u b ­ licised jailed writers, at all. Perhaps their case wasn’t “good policy” either, b ut they are still in prison. As Mr. W aten says at the end of his book: “I did not think th at the Soviet U nion had solved the problem of the relationship th a t should exist between a Socialist society and its crea­ tive artists.” L e o n C a n t r e l l THE ROOTS OF AM ERICAN FOREIGN POLICY: AN ANALYSIS OF POWER AND PURPOSE, by Gabriel Kolko. Beacon Press (Boston), 166 pp., $US5.95. SEVERAL YEARS AGO a young Amer­ ican radical scholar Gabriel Kolko briefly held a lectureship in economic history at th e University of Melbourne. R ather strange developments were then taking place in the departm ent «nd he soon resigned to return to the U nited States where he has since emerg­ ed as one of the New L eft’s most b ril­ liant historians. His Wealth and Power in America, (1962) effectively challeng­ ed and demolished the “income revolu­ tion” myth celebrated by such wellknown bourgeois economists as J. K. G albraith and Simon Kuznets. Unfortunately, it was in a few places marred by the pathological anti-Communism of th e American social-demo­ cratic group around Dissent w ith which he was associated at the time. T he ex­ tensive bibliography did not refer to the work of any Marxist or Left social scientists who had previously covered the same ground, e.g. Victor Perlo’s The Income ‘R evolution’ (1954) and C. W right Mills’ T h e Power Elite (1956). In T he Roots of American Foreign Policy Kolko has dem onstrated that American barbarism in Vietnam can only be comprehended in the larger context of the relations of the United States to the T h ird World. Superfluous notions of capriciousness and chance as the causal elements in American for­ eign and m ilitary policy must be eli­ m inated from the analytic framework of the scholar. T he logical and deliber­ ative aspects of American power at home and its interest abroad show the irrelevance of the notions of accident and innocence in explaining the appli­ cations of American power throughout the T h ird W orld. To understand policy one m ust know the policy-makers and define their ideo­ logical view and their background. This Kolko does superbly in Chapter One where political power in Ameri­ can society is shown to be an aspect of economic power. Bourgeois p lu ral­ ist theory, stressing the diversity and conflict w ithin the ranks of business and politicians, simply leads to amoebic descriptions of the phenomenon of inter-business rivalry in a m anner that obscures the m uch more significant d i­ mensions of common functions and objectives. T he American ruling class controls the m ajor policy options and the m anner in which the state applies its power. T h a t disagreements on the options occur w ithin the ruling class is less consequential th an th at they circumscribe the political universe. T his dom inant class determines the n ature and objectives of power in America. It is the final arbiter and beneficiary of the existing structure of American society and politics at home and of U nited States power in the world. In C hapter Two it is shown how the economic ruling class have utilised the Military Establishment as a tool for advancing their own interests. Busi­ nessmen and their political cohorts have defined the limits w ithin which the m ilitary formulates strategy, ex­ tending their values and definitions of reality over docile generals. T he sources of American foreign and m ili­ tary policy are not a mythical “militaryindustrial complex” b u t civilian a u th ­ ority and civilian-defined goals. C. W right Mills and other radicals who popularised the notion of the "militaryindustrial complex” were seriously at fault in not realising that the military conforms to the needs of economic in ­ terests. Of course, other Left critics of Mills, such as Paul Sweezy, have p re­ viously shown that the m ilitary serves the purposes of capitalists and poli­ ticians b u t Kolko’s critique is more fully worked out and richly docu­ mented. A discussion of the United States and w e ld economic power follows in Chap­ ter Three. It is shown th at American objectives and interests lead to global interventionism. T his gives some ra ­ tional basis for understanding the ob­ jectives of the U nited States in Viet­ nam which is dealt w ith in Chapter Four. Vietnam grotesquely highlights the interests and objectives of the men of power who direct America’s foreign policy. It is, to quote the author, “a futile effort to contain the irrepressible belief th at men can control their own fates and transform their own societies, a notion th at is utterly incompatible w ith an integrated world system order­ ed to benefit the U nited States’ material welfare.” T his work is polemical scholarship at its best. J o h n P l a y f o r d His T h e T rium ph of Conservatism (1963) dem onstrated th at big business was one of the m ain driving forces of the statist dynamic in twentiethcentury America. More recently , in T he Politics of War ( 1968 ), Professor Kolko presented a brilliant critique of the liberal accounts of the origins of the postwar Cold W ar p u t forward in the past by D. F . Fleming, Frederick L. Schuman et al.


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Milliss, Roger, Kirk, Robert, Kirsner, Douglas, Cantrell, Leon, Playford, John. Books: 1. Art and Revolution: Ernst Neizvestny and the Role of the Artist in the USSR 2. Neo-Capitalism in Australia 3. The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx 4. From Odessa to Odessa 5. The Roots of American Foreign Policy: An Analysis of Power and Purpose, Australian Left Review, 2014,