Arrow-right Camera

Community Comment

Class warfare coming?

Good afternoon, Netizens...

A good friend forwarded this rather lengthy piece to me and, upon reading it through twice, I began to listen and anticipate what the author had to say. Could it happen here, in the land of milk and honey? The author of this piece accepts that it might happen, asserting that it happened once before in history. It is a good tidbit for thought nonetheless.

"Civil War in the United States?"

By Immanuel Wallerstein

We are getting accustomed to all sorts of breakdowns of taboos. The  
world press is full of discussion about whether it would be a good  
idea to "nationalize" banks. None other than Alan Greenspan, disciple  
of the superlibertarian prophet of pure market capitalism, Ayn Rand,  
has recently said that we have to nationalize banks once every  
hundred years, and this may be that moment. Conservative Republican  
Senator Lindsay Graham agreed with him. Left Keynesian Alan Blinder  
discussed the pros and cons of this idea. And while he thinks the cons are a bit bigger than the pros, he was willing to spend public  intellectual energy writing about this in the New York Times.

Well, after hearing nationalization proposals by arch-conservative notables, we are now hearing serious discussions about the possibilities of civil war in the United States. Zbigniew Brzezinski,  
apostle of anti-Communist ideology and President Carter's National Security Advisor, appeared on a morning television talk show on February 17, and was asked to discuss his previous mention of the possibility of class conflict in the United States in the wake of the  
worldwide economic collapse.

Brzezinski said he was worried about it because of the prospect of  
"millions and millions of unemployed people facing dire straits,"  
people who have become aware "of this extraordinary wealth that was  
transferred to a few individuals without historical precedent in  

He reminded the listeners that, when there was a massive banking  
crisis in 1907, the great financier, J.P. Morgan, invited a group of  
wealthy financiers to his home, locked them in his library, and  
wouldn't let them out until they all kicked in money for a fund to  
stabilize the banks. Brzezinski said: "Where is the monied class  
today? Why aren't they doing something: about the people who made billions?"

In the absence of their doing something on a voluntary basis,  
Brzezinski said, "there's going to be growing conflict between the  
classes and if people are unemployed and really hurting, hell, there  
could even be riots!"

Almost simultaneously, a European agency called LEAP/Europe that  
issues monthly confidential Global Europe Anticipation Bulletins for  
its clients - politicians, public servants, businessmen, and  
investors - devoted its February issue to global geopolitical  
dislocation. The report did not paint a pretty picture. It discussed  
the possibility of civil war in Europe, in the United States, and  
Japan. It foresaw a "generalized stampede" that will lead to clashes,  
semi-civil wars.

The experts have some advice: "If your country or region is a zone in  
which there is a massive availability of guns, the best thing you can to leave the region, if that's possible." The only one of  
these countries which meets the description of massively available  
guns is the United States. The head of LEAP/Europe, Franck Biancheri,  
noted that "there are 200 million guns in circulation in the United  
States, and social violence is already manifest via gangs." The  
experts who wrote the report asserted that there is already an  
ongoing emigration of Americans

to Europe, because that is "where physical danger will remain marginal."

If Brzezinski hopes for the emergence of another J.P. Morgan in the  
United States to force sense upon the "monied" class, the LEAP/Europe  
report sees a "last chance" in the April 2 London meeting of the G20,  
provided the participants come forward with a "convincing and  
audacious" plan.

These analyses are not coming from left intellectuals or radical  
social movements. They are the openly expressed fears of serious  
analysts who are part of the existing Establishment in the United  
States and Europe. Verbal taboos are broken only when such people are  
truly fearful. The point of breaking the taboos is to try to bring  
about major rapid action - the equivalent of J.P. Morgan locking the  
financiers in his home in 1907.

It was easier in 1907.

by Immanuel Wallerstein

[Copyright by Immanuel Wallerstein, distributed by Agence Global. For  
rights and permissions, including translations and posting to non-
commercial sites, and contact:,  
1.336.686.9002 or 1.336.286.6606. Permission is granted to download,  
forward electronically, or e-mail to others, provided the essay  
remains intact and the copyright note is displayed. To contact  
author, write:


You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Community Comment

Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.