The United States stands resolute as a bastion of ‘peace and democracy’, standing hypocritically as an international police force dedicated to the spread and enforcement of such ideals abroad; yet, history has demonstrated corporate influence in the manipulation and procurement of US materialism in lands abroad.
The iron fist of blood and empire that is the United States government remains today as the last remaining superpower, guided by an unfaltering ethical code bought by the highest bidder, be it Halliburton, the US Fruit Company or Pepsi Cola. So saying, there exists a correlation between corporate interests abroad and that of American foreign policy. As with many ideals propagated by the press corpse of America, the US is glorified as the defender of people domestically and abroad against forces seeking to loot them of their natural rights. Resplendent in armor and weapons, the propaganda posters bespeak of a protector and warrior. An unfaltering force undeterred by the fallibility of the common man, the US marches on killing to further the interests of private corporations, killing to control the global economic situations, killing for personal gain and lulling the deluded people at home with rallying cries of communist threat, national security, and Islamic terrorists. Refer to it as neocolonialism or neoimperialism, the point stands that the CIA and military forces of the US stand as tools, as mercenaries, for hire by the opportunist corporations of the American capitalist bureaucracy. Beginning from the spread of the American colonialists through disease, genocide and slavery during Manifest Destiny, the American dream has been gilded through foreign imposition of American corporatism in the Spanish-American War (1848), Guatemala (1954), Dominican Republic (1960), Chile (1970), Panama (1980), Haiti (1980), and Ecuador (1981).
“Arbenz, Mossadeq, Allende, Aristide, elected democratically all snuffed out by the CIA. The truth will cause your heart to seize, shed light on the true enemy.” – Anti-Flag, “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”
The US is particularly fond of making statements supporting peace and respecting national sovereignty, but military actions such as in Grenada and Panama, as well as the evident conflict of interest in Iraq run counter to its assertions. The endless stream of inflated nationalistic diction utilized for purposes of domestic blindness and delusion has succeeded in re-gilding the signs of freedom for all, while casting in darkness the ever-so subtle fine print, ‘subject to change based on market price’. The American price tag has been sadistically low, luring the corporations of the world in a bidding frenzy in which the US may hope to emerge as the fiscal superpower that it was pre-Cold War era. So saying, the economy has been the source of corruption for the American nation and the world in general, as money and greed are clearly the carrots that keep luring the pack mules further. The slave trade and the ideology of colonialism, the expropriation of natural resources and peoples for self-indulgence, can be no clearer a demonstration of the corporate materialism of the Western hemisphere. Yet, the purpose of this post is to concentrate on the inter-American relations, and the corporate corruption of American hegemony within Southern and Central America.
“Gun ho and true to the Stars and Stripes. They fuckin’ brainwashed you to do their bidding. And like a flock of sheep with wool over your eyes, you just fall into line.” - Anti-Flag, “The Panama Deception”
To narrow in on the concrete objective of corporate imperialism abroad, the Spanish-American War seems as ideal a place to start. Following the American Civil War, the division of the states had been sutured shut and yet the level of development of the North far outpaced the South, leaving an unbalanced economic system between a backwards agricultural sector and a far more advanced industrial north. With a limited consumer base and depleting natural resources, the corporate groups of America monopolized their efforts into a unified diction of American imperialism and enforced it upon the career politicians and Washington hacks. With promises of wealth and power, the oaths to uphold the Constitution and the American people went forgotten in dusty shadowed crevices in the Liberty Bell. The corporate monopolizers proposed that the way to strengthen the US industry was not to produce less but to find more customers to buy goods. For these reasons, many called for greater access to foreign markets, fewer restrictions on exports, and aggressive foreign policy in underdeveloped regions in which civilians could become consumer puppets. Such became the fuel and fodder for the masses through the golden age of sensationalist journalism that drove military operations into Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines following the sinking of the Maine. With “Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain”, a series of corporate inspired endeavors began in the undeveloped regions of the world to exploit and control the innocent and vulnerable, a series of interconnected events founded on corporate imperialism that resulted in trillions spent on paramilitary coups to undermine democratically elected governments to satiate the materialist fire of the American elites.
“They’re sleeping between satin sheets. While huddled masses sleep in streets, tucked in at night, they lay and dream of corporate state theocracy.” - Anti-Flag, “Nothing Recedes Like Progress”
Thus, under the cover of the Communist threat during the Cold War era, the US was able to propagate its materialist nature throughout its hegemony of the Americas. One of the most prominent examples of US intervention for the purpose of corporate interests is that of Guatemala in 1954. President Arbenz was democratically elected by the people in 1950 and had pledged to enforce a form of ‘spiritual socialism’, in which the land would be redistributed to the people. The concept of socialism and redistribution is oft adhered to as a taboo, considered tell-tale signs of Marxist leaning and yet, Arbenz was merely trying to balance the economic system of his country. 72% of Guatemalan land was owned by only 2% of the people, most of whom were investors of the US Fruit Company. Offering to pay the value of the land back to its owners, Arbenz started his redistribution process, which angered many American officials invested in the US Fruit Company. Among these investors were Henry Cabot Lodge (Republican Senator), Allen Dulles (CIA Head) and John Foster Dulles (Secretary of State). With such prominent US officials oiling the wheels, the US marched forth to protect the interest of business abroad. With the backing of the CIA, General Armas was able to oust Arbenz through a military coup and return the land, and more, to the US Fruit Company. All is well that ends well for the US government, as its special interest groups were appeased by its blatant disregard for the sovereignty of the foreign government, as well as the installation of a regime that was later responsible for oppression and disparity, intrinsic to its militaristic nature.
“You live and breathe, sleep and drink, beg and plead. Blind, diseased, no water can wash the blood off your hands.” - Anti-Flag, “On Independence Day”
With contracts signed and bonds forged, the corporations secure their hold on the national defense department, luring in the CIA, FBI and all available national security assets with the promise of blood money, corrupt investment, foreign suppression and no penalty at the home-front. Consciences left at the door, the tinkerers of the corporate syndicate slave away, paving the pathway for yet another coup d’etat under false-pretenses to ensure that the elites of the American industry never deplete their resources of foreign enslavement. In Chile in 1970, the International Telephone and Telegraph Company and Pepsi Cola were challenged by the plurality election of Allende to Presidency. The peoples’ leader, Allende pledged to return Chile to the its people and yet such a nationalistic diction, oft heard at rallies in America, were unwelcome to the American businessman. As the record spins the historical record of endless repetitions, the puppeteers carried away their CIA operatives on strings sewn from the minerals raped from the soil of Chile and undermined the government of Allende, fomenting a military coup that led directly to the regime of General Pinochet. As with all military dictators, General Pinochet demonstrated his redeeming qualities by fiscally and politically suppressing the country, as well-being responsible for countless human rights violations throughout the years of his regime in which thousands disappeared, all of which was directly result of CIA operations.
“You won’t kiss the American flag? Well by God we’ll make you. We’ll ram it down your throat. Sing the Star Spangled Banner with feeling.” - Anti-Flag, “Tar and Sagebrush”
Killing for corporations and for self-gain, the American system has founded its plutocracy on the death of the liberties and rights of the peoples in its neighboring countries, extorting resources and peoples for the sadistic pleasure of CEOs and Fortune 500s. The trust and civility of the nation grows taut when corporate influence is even slightly jeopardized, as seen in Panama and Grenada. In Panama, the US would hardly stand-by and watch as its profit from the Panama Canal was jeopardized by a popularly supported leader that sought to redistribute wealth through the implementation of tariffs on the Canal. Commander Torrijos, the first leader to represent the true Panamanian majority, was supported by the US corporations as they led him by nose to ratify and pass treaties that ensured US trade through the Canal, as well as their right to intervene in the country if the neutrality of the Canal was in question. Such ambiguity, a key to the success of the loophole finding businessman, allowed for US military intervention in 1989 to secure their holdings in Panama and ensure the mutual understanding that the US was the true power in the region, despite the promises of sovereignty. The corrupt nature of the relationship was climatically demonstrated by the mysterious crash of Torrijos’ plane in the late 80s, later shown to be a bilateral operation between Noriega, on the CIA payroll, and other CIA operatives. Coupled together with the US-involved plane crash of Ecuadorian president Jaime Roldos Aguilera in 1981, the morality of the government is best seen by its utter lack of regard for neighboring countries. Not so dire a circumstance as the “accidental” deaths of the two presidents, the Haitian president Aristide was confronted with threats of military force and execution under CIA operation’Uphold Democracy’, in which the US ousted the democratically elected president, supported by 67% of the people. Once again, through military means and the transition to a military regime afterwards, the US secured their capitalist interests in its typical imperialistic fashion. With political accountability waylaid by dismissive and disinterested constituents, all of whom have been lulled into submission by the endless stream of corporate goods produced at the cost of foreign imperialism, American foreign policy has been unrelentingly decayed by corporate privatization of democracy.
“And I can list them like a cliché in a 60s folk song. Bring me your sick and your poor and your huddles masses yearning, yeah. But today instead of handing out invitations, maybe the liberty drops holy thing on other nations. Capitalist hogs feeding from the trough. When the pig get too fat, then the pig’s time is up.” – Anti-Flag, “What do You Think About Western Civilization”
In retrospect, with such an evident illustration of this new form of corporate nationalism, resembling an evolved form of totalitarianism, the dictatorial nature of the American bureaucracy becomes a little bit clearer to the conveyor belt society that has been addled by subliminal messaging and corporate truths that are to be held as self-evident. Without impediment, special interest groups have wielded unrelenting influence on the House, Senate, and diplomatic floors, creating a regime for their own and all the benefits – tax cuts, policies and rewards – flow in one direction: up. The words of freedom, democracy and equality ring hollow in oil refineries, textiles and hollowed out mines of the underdeveloped regions of the Americas, as the ranks of the laborers return to a regime installed and supported by US corporations, US military and US finances.