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Letter Box


A letter from an alumnus about the U.S. and capitalism

March 11, 2002

The brief comments by Turhan Tirana ’57 on my current activity and views (Class Notes, February 27) were fair-minded if limited by space.
It is instructive to note that CBS Television News disclosed on September l0, 2001, that the Pentagon "lost" $2.3 trillion in fiscal year 1999 and $1.3 trillion in fiscal year 2000. It is the tip of the iceberg and but a glimpse into the standard ways of a kleptocracy, constituting the rule by that 2 percent of our population that owns and controls 90 percent of the national wealth.

Much of this pillage is secreted in thousands of offshore accounts and laundered through off-balance sheet transactions that are the defining modus operandus of corporate and banking capital in the U.S.

This does not speak to the hundreds of billions of stolen dollars in cost overruns, sweetheart contracts that are the standard procedure in the trillion dollar soup line of "defense contractors."

The top 17 corporations in the U.S. go 10 years at a time without paying taxes and will now receive rebates for any such years in which taxes were paid momentarily.

Thus, the state in capitalist America is but the milch cow of the tiny if concentrated oligarchy of banking and corporate capital that has long usurped control over governance in our society. The big property party, with two names, is funded interchangeably by this cabal, guaranteeing the continuity of its rule and its dictatorship over what passes for a political process.

The academy is hardly divorced from this defining institutional reality in our society. In my experience, Princeton University has labored efficiently to inculcate the values, perceptions, and ideological prerequisites in the privileged young, aspiring for the most part, to take their place among the administrative and governing few.

The recent disclosures concerning Enron do not constitute "scandal," so much as they reveal the daily functioning of corporate and finance capital in the U.S.

During the past decade, Enron, Unocal, Halliburton, Exxon, Mobil et al have prepared plans for the seizure of control of trillions of dollars of oil and natural gas in the Caspian Sea region.

The division of these spoils, reminiscent of the San Remo Agreements preceding World War I with respect to Middle Eastern oil were worked out methodically in the National Security Council, Energy Institute, Afghanistan Foundation, Council on Foreign Relations, specific and detailed plans entirely contingent upon a causus belli that would provide the pretext for massive U.S. military intervention.

Those of your readers who are open to an understanding of the dependence of U.S. capital today upon arms production and continuing war win be able to place the events of September 11 in their proper context: a calamity instigated and orchestrated by the military and intelligence apparatus of the corporate and banking rulers who command the State in Ameria.

Alumni and others who may wish to avail themselves of the explanatory model and the precise evidence that sustains it are invited to tune in every Friday from 10:00 a.m. to noon on radio station WBAI 99.5 FM in New York to "Taking Aim — With Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone."
Listeners outside the greater New York area may use the Internet by going to www.wbai.org then to "listen" and then to "radio." We are heard regularly across the Americas, from Cuba to India and from Norway to Iran.

We welcome readers of PAW to join us.

Ralph Schoenman ’57
Vallejo, Calif.

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