I am not a Marxist. But I think Marx had a very good point when he argued that so much of politics can be explained by economic motivations and class issues. In this Sunday NY Times magazine piece from last week, Rich talks about the growing economic inequality in America. He ties it into the shift to the right of American government.
And of course, plutocracies love wars. First of all, it is not the plutocrats children who go fight. Perhaps one reason Bush seems so unconcerned about deaths of American soldiers, is that he knows those soldiers come from the ranks of the poorest, most disenfrachised segments of American society. Their deaths dont threaten his rule.
It is not surprising, as well, that conservative think tanks want us to believe that poverty has nothing to do with the rise of terrorism. Nor is it surprising that Bush just signed the largest defense budget in decades. Of course, all that money is corporate welfare to defense contractors (like Cheney’s Halburton buddies), not money spent on defending the American citizens Bush spends so much time talking about.
It is worth spending some time on the CIA Factbook site looking at the index of income inequality. EC countries all have a far more equitable distribution of income than the U.S. They also, probably for that reason, tend to oppose war.
Coming back to Israel, over the past ten years (figures you won’t see on the CIA site, which only goes back to 1992 for this) income distribution inequalities have reached levels that exceed that of the U.S., and are more reflective of third world countries. The economic disaster over the past two years has only accelerated the trend. As I argued in my FAQ, it is the Israeli army elite’s economic interests, that is one of the main motivations for continuing the occupation. Peace with the Palestinians will disrupt the political control and economic hegemony of Israel’s ruling junta.
It sickens me when American Jews on the one hand, hold trade fairs to buy Israeli goods as a way to “help” the Israeli economy, and with the other strengthen Sharon’s rule. They refuse to recognize the connection between Sharon’s policy of war and economic ruin for the vast majority of Israelis. And they refuse to see through the lies and propaganda of the Israeli ruling elites, which prop up their criminal exploitation of both Palestinians and their fellow Israeli citizens. Israeli soldiers are going fund raising to buy themselves protective equipment not supplied by the Israeli army. We are very good at demanding transparnecy from Arafat, but neither the American government nor American Jews ask where the billions the Israeli government gets is being spent, and why Israeli soldiers are sent to war under equipped and under fed.