Was US government control over the Panama Canal "socialist," mostly, or "imperialist"?
I'm asking this question in response to some leftist YA member who recently took conservatives to task because of their supporting the US government's former ownership of the Panama Canal, which supposedly was "socialist."
At least from a leftwing perspective, wasn't US control over the Canal, which many conservatives including Ronald Reagan wanted to preserve forever, basically "imperialist," even more than it was "socialist"?
I mean it was an example of the US government exercising control over the "means of production" in the form of a major waterworks and transportation aid. In that sense it was "socialist."
But the construction & the control over the Canal involved the US government basically seizing & controlling the territory of another nation for the purpose of bolstering the US position in the world, both militarily and commercially.
That's a classic example of imperialism, isn't it?
And whether you like it or hate it, don't imperial conquest and imperial domination often involve the political State, even if the State in question may be acting on behalf of some capitalist enterprise?
- Anonymous9 years agoFavorite Answer
It was a prime example of US imperialism. When Carter met and made an agreement with Omar Efraín Torrijos, and gave the Panama Canal back to Panama, the right wing and corporations in the USA were absolutely furious.
This is because Nixon, Cheney, McNamara, Kissinger, and leaders of global capitalists corporations and the Republican party were convinced that the US led corporations needed to create a global capitalist empire. They organized the world bank and the IMF to work for American interests. They saw the Panama canal as their means to control global trade and maintain their empire.
President Carter was the last president to actually have a moral center. He knew that the Panamanian people were poor, and that they suffer greatly while rich Americans lived like kings off the labor from the Panamanian people. It was so bad that the Panamanian people lived like second class citizens in their own country. Carter felt that it was morally right to give the canal back to the people of Panama, so that the wealth that the canal generated could be given to the Panamanian people.
The Republicans and their corporate masters made sure, through back door deals with Iran (see Iran hostage crisis) that Carter would be made to look like a horrible inept president. They were working to make sure that Reagan would be president through a very effective manipulation of the media. Torijitos pledged to make sure that the wealth would be given to his people, for that, when Carter lost the election and Reagan took office, the CIA assassinated Torrijos and put Manuel Noreiga in power.
Of course, the imperialism of the USA would not end there. At this same time, Japan, an emerging economic power at the time was trying to secure a second canal in Nicaragua to be built to provide competition to the US held Panama Canal. The Japanese wanted to make a deal with the Sandinistas, which had leftist ideas like government ownership of the canal. The USA, and specifically Reagan, the Republicans, and the US led corporations did not want a second canal to be built, especially one that Japan would have influence upon.
The USA led several terrorist activities and secret military actions against the Nicaraguan people to put the Contras into power, claiming that the Sandinistas were allied with Russia and attempting to create a new communist state, which was completely false. Ronald Reagan even went onto say on public television that Brownsville Texas was under threat from Sandinista attack.
The US killed more than an estimated 10,000 Nicaraguans overthrowing the Sandinistas. For this, The USA was the first country to be condemned for acts of terrorism by the UN world court. Only Israel has been condemned for acts of terrorism since in response to their actions against the Palestinian people.
And the USA did all of this in the name of corporate profits and global capitalism.
- BruceNLv 79 years ago
Conservatives just like to use the S word as a pejorative because American schoolchildren, were taught to equate Socialism with forced labor in Siberian salt mines. The fact is that government control over a necessary public good or service isn't particularly Socialist. The Ancient Egyptians built and operated harbors, canals, and granaries using tax and toll money 7000 years before Socialism or Capitalism was even invented.
- 9 years ago
It was an example of US imperialism. There are many examples of this around the world, of which Panama was but one.
- Anonymous4 years ago
I am going to have to evaluate that Green Eyed Monster and see what makes it tick. I might have to do some probing for diagnosis. I think it will take awhile.
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- Patchouli42Lv 69 years ago
It was imperialist as it was there to protect our economic interest and not those of the people who lived there.