As Marx said, theexchange of commodities is one of the most common place and crucial activities to occur within a capitalist society. Profit, extracted from surplus value of unpaid labor of workers, is passed along from ruling class circles internationally by means of trade. This drive for profit is the fire which compels the bourgeois entrepreneur to invest and engage in relations with his foreign counterparts (concurrently increasing levels of exploitation of the working class), who also share the same goal of expansion. Politicians, most of whom come from the ranks of these individuals, support such relationships by passing legislation that opens up new international markets and pools of labor to be exploited. These transactions now have full legal sway, legitimized by the sanctity of private property and enforced by the militaries and police from each respective nation doing business. From looking at this reality, it is self-evident that the power of capital has negated any national boundaries, notions of sovereignty, and the natural rights of working people who create the wealth that the capitalists enjoy. This ever expanding growth and blinding speed by which capital moves, coupled with the advances in communications technology that helped make this speed possible (and vice versa), created what we know today as globalization. What does this mean for the accountability of multinational corporations? If capital can move so easily across the globe, then where does the true loyalty of a company lie when their country of origin is at war with another they simultaneously engage in trade and help to make profit with? What does this quandary say about nature of capitalism?
Let's examine a certain scandal within the Bush family. That's right, none other than the latest political dynasty of the United States, from which we have the pleasure to call two of it's members commander-in-chief. President Dubya's grandfather, the late Prescott Bush, was placed on the directing board of the Union Bank Corporation prior to World War II. This bank was set up in order to provide a place within the U.S. for one of Germany's most powerful and rich industrial families, the Thyssens. Patriarch August Thyssen set up an international connection of banks with which they would stow away assets overseas if their operations were ever threatened, as such was the case in World War I. His son Fritz inherited the corporate empire just as the German economy was collapsing under the weight of various sanctions placed upon it by the victorious nations of the first World War. Looking for the best investment with which he could save his fortune, Fritz became enthralled with Adolf Hitler, who was agitating for power. The Thyssens threw their financial lot in with the Nazi party, Fritz even became a member. At this time UBC, directed by Prescott Bush, sold eight million dollars worth of U.S. treasury bonds, gold, steel, and other materials to Germany. This arrangement continued and coincided with Hitler's rise to power and the invasion of Poland in 1939, which was in part financed by Prescott Bush's company. An even more surprising discovery was made with the relations UBC had with another private banking firm "Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC)," which was "based in mineral rich Silesia on the German-Polish border" (Campbell 2004). This company was known for profiting from slave labor in concentration camps, most notably from the infamous Auschwitz. Prescott Bush sat on the boards of three companies confiscated by the Office of Alien Property after World War II for operating in benefit of the German Nazi government and war effort, trading with the enemy. Not surprisingly, Prescott Bush would go on to become senator and found the Bush political and financial dynasty. His son George H.W. Bush would go on to Yale, join Skull and Crossbones, and become president of the United States, as his son would after him.
There you have it. The identical interests of the bourgeois, i.e. maximum profit, had transcended national barriers and even the devotion to one's nation that was trumpeted and preached to the working class of the U.S., the U.K, etc. These very same people that had harangued the proletariat to pick up a rifle and run blindly into machine gun fire in the name of their country were helping their capitalist counterparts in Nazi Germany build the same tanks that lobbed shells at our countrymen. This just goes to show that capitalist drive for profit knows no boundaries or allegiance to any flag, only that for new opportunities to accumulate wealth, including war. Instances such as this are not isolated cases, nor are they mere anomalies. Rather, this is an exposure of the very nature of capitalism. The same was true of revolutionary Russia during World War I. The Russian bourgeoisie, while sparing no effort in trying to keep the proletariat and peasants fighting on the front line with no food, simultaneously began talk of allowing the German army in to prevent any democratic worker's uprising. What patriotism! This is why the working class of all the world must realize petty nationalism is a tool of the ruling class to extract maximum profit, to instigate meaningless war against peoples who have never met to make more money. It must be true what Marx said then, that workingmen of the world have no country, considering the same is correct of international capitalists.
The movie "LBJ;" what is missing?
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