“In the West … there was a very strong reassertion of capitalism. Now I say reassertion of capitalism. And the reason I say reassertion is because during the Second World War—US society for the few short years of the Second World War was radically changed.”—big mike
In this episode:
00:00 Why have we already forgotten about such a recent world-historical event as the Cold War? In the post-WWII climate, what are the four world regions that are at odds with each other? What was the influence of communist ideas in each of these four regions? How did the Third World function as a battleground between West and East?
13:59 The Cold War was fundamentally a competition for power. How did this competition happen ideologically? How did this inform the military and economic competition?
20:04 How was the war fought culturally between East and West? How do different practices around the interaction between intellectual and political life allow us to see how important the cultural war was?
29:32 How did the cultural war in the US—which attempted at all costs to de-emphasize class—try to respond to state cultural messaging around WWII, which inadvertently helped spawn a homegrown anti-capitalist movement? How did the US state’s attempts to control culture and ideology influence those in the Middle West and Third World who were disillusioned by both capitalism and communism?
37:57 Rewinding a bit, in what ways was the US functioning as essentially a socialist state in WWII? How did its ideological promotion of military service during that war (accidentally or not) align with anti-capitalist ideas, particularly by emphasizing the value of democracy? Why did these material conditions make such a severe re-assertion of capitalism and capitalist values necessary? How did this bleed into the consumer capitalism we’re familiar with today, and the concurrent evisceration of labor’s power? What does this tell us about the power of ideology to change and even negate people’s experience of material conditions?