Home | About | Donate

Racism, Yes, But What About Militarism and Materialism?

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/06/23/racism-yes-what-about-militarism-and-materialism


Yes, let’s get fundamental. Let’s deal with what underpins it all.
"…t’he giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism.’”

The most basic and fundamental of all the oppressions in our society is left unmentioned. Patriarchy. And none of these men caring, decent men can even see that we are living in a patriarchal death cult and that underlies and furthers all the rest.

Yes, let’s yet fundamental.


Militarism and Materialism should be the official motto of the USA.


a most important analysis by a former military man. who could know better.


Actually, I think the United States already has a fitting motto.

A “Trust” is a fiduciary arrangement where an agent is used to help transfer riches from one party to another. In our system religion is often inappropriately used as an agent to help convince working people to transfer the wealth created by their work to the rich. Thus, the motto of the United States is In God We Trust.


E pluribus unum has morphed into everybody for oneself. Great events like WWII could not help but galvanize the public in common cause and that spirit carried through a large part of society until the inevitable divide-and-conquer forces began to pit this group against that. By the time cell phones came along many were so atomized as to have no enfranchisement in society. Occupy Wall Street was a brief respite from that–then back to the mall. BLM made many think again, but I hold more hope for a Poor People’s Movement as I believe that would be more unifying and more reflecting of what this is all really about–class war.


What is “reopening” the economy anything BUT the “right” to consume?

Truly laughable was the video yesterday of the WalMart security guard wrestling down a maskless customer screaming about his right to enter without a mask. Materialism at its most perverse and ironic, for sure.


Perhaps the upcoming wave of evictions and the likely rent strike might offer an opportunity to confront these.


"Regarding race, it appears that the great majority of Americans have now rejected such silence. This is good. It remains an open question, however, when their silent acceptance of militarism, materialism, and the abuse of Planet Earth will end." (Bacevich)

Along with Chris Hedges, Michael Moore, Jeff Gibbs, Ozzie Zehner, Vandana Shiva and a few others, we are becoming aware - slowly - painfully slowly.

We are in drastic overshoot, yet I remain … expectant !

That we will rise to the occasion when the need becomes urgent enough.

Siberia and the Arctic in general are burning hot - literally demolishing all records thru May and June.

When I look around at my fellow citizens - I am shocked at the obliviousness to every single point raised here by Andrew Bacevich, to what Chris Hedges points to - to the “Limits to Growth”.

The artists need to act - all else has failed.


A superb summary of the ills of America. Everyone, especially, Tucker, should read this essay.


Yes, certainly the death cult of patriarchy needs to be added to the fundamentals, as sketched in Bacevich’s excellent piece. One major problem is we know so little about the conditions that have to be in place for humans to change. The problem lies with the mass of the people. They are the ones who give active and silent assent to racism, class hierarchy, militarism and patriarchy. And women are half of the problem, too.

Sadly, it seems that it takes fear to motivate people to change. It’s only when they fear the consequences of inaction more than those of change that they will bestir themselves. If anyone is more optimistic, I’d like to learn why.

1 Like

I see the term in the list of key words at the bottom of the article, but don’t racism, militarism, and materialism all come together at CAPITALISM?

Yes, defund the military.


Excellent article. Wish our lamestreet media would connect all the dots. You did a great job of illustrating the problems that exist today. Except for the financial corruption of our treasury, wall street and the various components that are a web or deceit and stealing taxpayer funds, Feds, and most of the institutions set up for checks and balances and keeping the American people safe. Of course that is another separate articles.

1 Like

The biggest difference between the 60’s and the 20’s is that MLK, RFK, the SDS, the anti-war Vets, Malcolm X and even JFK recognized the continuity between colonialism and racism. Today’s movement gives no time to the United States War on the third world by the wealthy and the MIC. A perfect example is the extensive outrage over Trump’s “Kung Flu” joke, which was funny if you have never heard that, and HRC’s invasion of Libya. Trump made a few laugh and harmed no one. HRC destroyed a country that, hold on to your pants, was the most prosperous in all of Africa. Free good health care, free education, equality of women, but that was not enough. HRC wanted Qadafi"s scalp for her reelection bid as the ultimate warrior woman. Yet Lemon on CNN talked extensively about “kung flu” like it was something important while he and the rest, including the NYT, completely ignored and continue to ignore the partnering of the CIA and Isis in Libya to bring down Qadafi for no good reason other than to forward Israels goal of failed states and endless wars in Muslim countries, appease the MIC who want perpetual war, and wealthy donars who want the same. These things are related and to pretend they are not is a mistake. If today were the 1960’s the same leaders would tie in the current environmental policies to the imperialism and racism. Seeing the whole picture yields a clearer view.

1 Like

It is, along with vulture capitalism.

which a good part of the middle class who used to beable to have a slice of the American dream are poor…


In his typically astute article, Andrew Bacevich admits that he does not know what might have spurred some protestors to indulge in looting along with their protesting.

However, Bacevich seems to accept that the rioters and looters are the same body as the protesters without considering that some rioters and looters could have been simple opportunists using the legitimate protests as cover for their criminal activities, or that agents provocateur could have provoked the rioting and looting to discredit the protesting, which Tucker Carlson unsurprisingly seized upon for one of his usual diatribes that Bacevich cites. The use of agents provocateur is hardly unheard-of as, for example, the FBI’s COINTELPRO and the CIA’s Operation Chaos programs augmented local law enforcement’s efforts to infiltrate and undermine the various protest movements of the 1960s.

Along with suggestions of this, which need corroboration, I’ve also heard that police during the recent protests ignored the looting and rioting to concentrate on the protesting, which they deemed to be more of a danger than mere pillage. Also, the police have a personal animus since the protests were sparked by outrage to the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

As a long-time Southern Californian, I recall the riots that followed the 1992 acquittal of the four LAPD officers in the Rodney King beating. The spark was the immediate outrage against the injustice, but that quickly mushroomed into disruptions with various motivations, with some of those hardly noble. I’m hesitant to ignore that possibility in our current situation.

Bacevich’s central point, underlined by his framework of MLK’s linking civil rights to the then-Vietnam war, of why Americans are rightly outraged by Floyd’s killing by police but are silent on “policing” by our military abroad suggests the question I think he knows the answer to already: It is all abstract and meaningless until it comes home to bite you in a concrete manner.

1 Like

Racism, Militarism, and Materialism are just tools for conducting the economic exploitation of people and nature to enrich a handful few. Let’s not forget their purpose. Which means that the edifice is called capitalism (or imperialism).

1 Like

Thank you Andrew Bacevich! Yes, we live in a time of guided missiles and unguided men.


Sorry but it is abstract until the leaders of the movement teach people otherwise. That is what happened with the Vietnam War. Teach-ins. That means informed people meeting those willing to hear new information and letting the information speak to a larger truth. With the advent of social media one wonders where the leaders are? Are they teaching or continually finding ways to make people into the enemy? You can always find something if you look. But relentless screaming is not teaching. The media is a biased force since Reagan, Clinton and Obama got rid of the Fairness doctrine and allowed for consolidation which silences. People who want to expand the protests beyond race have to make the connections and communicate that message. Start with the wars in the Middle East and the environmental destruction by the same forces.